Nine years ago yesterday, I met her for the first time.
She wasn't shy about letting me know how things were going to need to go down to spare us her wrath. And though we spent the first year feeling like the village idiots, she survived our feeble attempts at parenting.
We added a couple of siblings, and over the years, we've come to an understanding about these things. We have our golden moments as parents to be sure, but we still earn those dramatic eye-rolls and hefty sighs.
Of all the things I didn't know nine years ago, I didn't realize that this was going to be so amazing. This whole watching an infant become a toddler, and watching that toddler shape-shift into a bona fide child, and then watch as that child barrels on towards adolescence with nary a glance backwards.
Well, okay. When she's tired, or hurt, or experiencing disappointment, her eyebrows still get red and her fists still clench as the tears spill out of her eyes. She also still jumps up and down when she's really pissed, and you know, I hope that she never loses that one.
I guess that's not her looking backwards. That's me. I'm remembering the furious toddler inside this young lady who is almost as tall as me.
I'd love to freeze her at this age, so that I could catch my breath and get to know this child of mine at the ripe old age of nine. She's not slowing down for a minute, though, already planning her tenth birthday and looking forward to owning a farm. After she designs an expansion for World of Warcraft. I don't know what she's got in the works exactly, but she's filling notebooks with characters and storylines and illustrations.
Last night, we took the family out to dinner at a lovely Chinese food restaurant and STOP THE PRESSES! The kids behaved. They ate politely, the didn't reject anything, they tried every dish, they didn't climb under the table, they were good.
I'd like to claim responsibility for this, but you know what? Planets aligned. Lucky stars shined. I'm just grateful that it was wonderful.
I sat across the table from my big girl, and watched her enjoy her dinner, and chat with my sister who had joined us for the meal, and calmly order mango sorbet for her birthday dessert and I almost didn't recognize her. She is so very lovely.
But then we got home and she threw a fit when we sent her to bed. And then she crawled into our bed and hogged my pillow. And as I pushed her hair out of my face and tried in vain to cling to the side of the mattress, I was like - oh! There she is. I recognize this kid.