It doesn’t seem like it could possibly be fourteen years ago today that I first earned the title of mother. In fact, it’s not quite been fourteen years to the moment. At 2:30 p.m. on that day, I was still blithely going about my business preparing for a regularly-scheduled OB appointment.
Three hours later, I was in labor and delivery, thinking that I’d actually have my first child on my due date…the next day. Because right after my regular appointment, following which I had sent Adventure Guy on his way back to work, I had the stress test and ultrasound that had become a routine part of my pregnancy because of a gestational diabetes diagnosis. And unlike all the other routine ultrasounds, this time my doctor found my amniotic fluid levels to be too low. So low, that she decided to induce immediately.
Now think back to 1994. I did not own a cell phone, and neither did Adventure Guy. (My children are SHOCKED by the mere thought of this!) He did, however, have a pager as part of his job, so I called his secretary to page him right before I walked across the street to the hospital with one of the nurses. I went through check in and the initial eval by myself, anxiously awaiting his arrival. This being our first time in the delivery process, we actually thought having my bag would be important, so he had driven from downtown Houston back to our house to pick it up. He then had to drive back down to the medical center near downtown–all of this in rush hour traffic.
I’ve never been so happy to see him walk into a room. It’s scary being on your own, hooked up to the pitocin and wondering what labor will really be like. And I was totally on my own, since I had insisted that Adventure Guy and I would do this alone, without the added pressure of a crowd waiting either outside or inside the delivery room.
Adventure Guy arrived around 6:30 p.m., having made truly record time in traffic, and by 9:00 p.m. it was time to push. Dancer Girl made her entrance, calmly at 10:01 p.m., blinking up at me with clear blue eyes. The most perfect thing Adventure Guy and I had ever seen.
And then it was my turn to blink. And somehow in the last month or so I’ve had to start looking up at her, my full-fledged teenager, rather than looking down to my little girl. And, scarier yet, I realize that if fourteen years have flown so quickly, four more will be gone in mere moments. And, yes, I know at times that will seem like a very good thing. But now, as I watch Dancer Girl struggle to determine who she is and who she wants to become, to live through those years few of us would really want to take on again in our own lives, it makes me want to hold on tight to the time we have left. To make sure that I remember all the little day-to-day moments just as clearly as I remember the moment she left my body, destined to become forever separate, but forever a part of my heart.