Every cliche in the book runs through my mind about how fast this happened.
But my heart has a longer, more intimate memory.
My heart remembers the weight of that 7lb baby girl in my arm as well as on my heart.
My heart remembers how totally inadequate I felt to be her mother.
My heart has felt that many many times.
My heart remembers the midnight feeds, the dinner time tantrums, the defiant 3 year old looking me in the eye and saying "count me Mama, just Count me" rendering the 1-2-3 warning method of parenting utterly useless.
My heart remembers the mixture of fear and excitement in her eyes but the square in her shoulders as she entered child care, Kindergarten, Grade 1-7, High School, University.
My heart remembers her kindness with those left out or being bullied, her sense of justice and her courage at standing up to injustice (she sure knows how to protest!)
My heart remembers how it swelled with pride at dance shows, swimming badges, soccer games, rugby game survival, valedictory.
My heart remembers the busy times, the quiet times, the picnics and walks and canoe rides. The lake swims, the surfing, the crazy NYC taxi rides.
My heart remembers the chats, the laughs, the notes on my pillow, the arguments, the tears over fickle friends, the excitement of travel and new adventures.
My heart remembers all the times we walked hand in hand, the cuddles, the companionable moments shopping, cooking, baking, gardening, reading.
My heart remembers all the moments in between these ones.
And even with all this in my heart - all these myriad moments of mothering and connection I am feeling an odd mixture of amazement and bewilderment that my girl, my precious, precious girl who has taught me so much, is 20 today.
We have walked this journey together.
I imagined it would be rockier, with more steep slopes, more slippery slopes but, with much Grace, we have managed to walk a mostly even road, not without bumpy sections, but with no major detours. I am so grateful to her for forgiving my shortcomings, for laughing with me and at me when I needed to lighten up, for her wit that makes me gasp and smile at the same time. I am in awe of the skills you have in so many areas of your life and while your fierce independance is fantastic - I appreciate that every now and then you know this Mama needs a hug and a chat.
Lindsay Erin Elizabeth Byres - my heart burst open with an inexplicable love today 20 years ago when you calmly lay in the bassinet and then in my arms, looking at me with those big brown eyes. I could not have known then that today, as you hike along a mountain path before me, curls "flatted" into
a bobbing ponytail, that I could love you even more.
But I do.
I am sure you will tackle this 3rd decade of your life with all the maturity, humour, intelligence and love you have done everything so far. And no matter where you and I are on your 30th birthday... I will love you.
Happy 20th Birthday Lindsay Lou.