Natalie is my daughter.
I am her mother.
Up until this point in her life, she's been "my baby" and when people ask the gender the response is "a little girl."
Having a baby girl is different from having a daughter. She won't stay my baby girl forever....she's going to be my rambunctious and creative six year old and then my determined and tomboyish twelve year old and then she'll be running around the house putting on the last touches to her make-up for prom and then I'll turn around and I'll be the mother of the bride pinning a hair piece in her up-do before she walks down the aisle. And one day I'll be the one beside the bed, holding my nervous daughter's hand while she anxiously awaits the birth of her first child.
As I sat there playing with her this afternoon watching her explore our bedroom I saw my own life with my mother flashing before my eyes.
Playing Cabbage Patch dolls in my bedroom. Watching Gone With The Wind in the living room while she vacuumed. Volunteer projects with her at church. Swimming in the summers. Midnight masses for Christmas Eve. The fighting in junior high. The anger and the tears. Picking out my dream dress for prom. Watching her wave good-bye as she dropped me off for college. My grandma's funeral. Moving home from Denton and crying in the driveway. Breakdowns and breakups. Seeing her so proud in the stands watching me coach. Introducing her to Craig....and later announcing our engagement. Picking out my wedding dress. Telling her that I was pregnant. Her holding my hands during labor. Tucking Natalie into bed the first night at home.
Where would I be without my mother? WHO would I be without my mother?
And in turn, what will the imprint be that I leave on Natalie? What will our relationship be like when she is 28 and what kind of road will we take to get there?