This is dedicated to the ONE I love...

So far on this blog I've pondered men, working, wines, my quest to be a "real" athlete and my dear departed Dad.  It occurred to me the other day as I was contemplating this first anniversary post (YEAH ME!) that I've said precious little about a most blaringly obvious topic - my wunderkind.

I always knew I wanted to be a mother even as a little girl playing with dolls. As a pre-teen I even chose her name. Hollywood legend Rita Hayworth gave it to her daughter first and I've loved it ever since. While other men might have had a problem with my choice being too exotic or ethnic, my ex-husband hailed from North Africa were it is a popular, pleasant name. In fact, it was the only name we  could agree on! Her conception (a complete surprise), gestation and birth were an absolute breeze though the only hiccups being 16 days overdue and a delivery via Cesarean section. I also envisioned myself with three kids. As an only child, I thought there was some unwritten rule that singletons never have just one child themselves. But alas my marriage fell apart around her 4th birthday and I moved too slowly and/or fearfully forward so that by the time I realized it, my eggs were just too old to usher baby Kieran Niklas into the world - a test 2.5 years ago confirmed that.  Yes, I really named my kids mentally long before she/they (??) were conceived. Now in all honesty because what else would I put on a very public blog, every Spring I've fantasized (albeit briefly) about finding my ideal partner and a positive pregnancy test almost simultaneously.  It even happened a few weeks ago. Then just as suddenly, came the realization that in three short years, I'll have the freedom to trek the globe the way I should have in my 20s. The proverbial  "finish" line is in full view now. I know I can't abandon her at 18, that's the furthest thing from my mind but she'll likely be away at college and I refuse to condemn myself to a lifetime of waiting again even for my beloved wunderkind's calls and visits home.
I decided before she was conceived (again) that I would mother differently than I was accustomed to seeing. From birth, every evening included an after-bath massage and bed-time story. I made her baby food myself, swathed her in cloth diapers and nursed her for seven moths.  As soon as she turned 2, I put her in swimming lessons while neither her Dad nor I can swim to this day.  She has participated in nearly every sport imaginable except football; from ballet to tee ball to soccer to gymnastics.  She's enjoyed the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra numerous times and performances at Wolftrap National Park; got bit by the acting bug in theatre workshops and plays. She took her first plane ride at 2 and set foot in her first non-native country at 7 (Canada) and officially traveled "abroad" at 8 to Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.  Her life has been full of good times at zoos, museums, American Girl stores (this is as much a treat for any Mom as it is the daughter), copious friends and parties.  Now she plays field hockey, was voted President of the Class of 2015 and works on the year book committee in high school.  I still make sure to have a warm, home cooked meal by the time school's out on any day I work from home.  Mothering this child has kept me quite busy.  In fact my life  really isn't any less busy now that she's older. 

As a new mother (the first 5 years) one's primary concern was just keeping them alive!  Fevers, falls, fussiness or failure to attain some milestone on a developmental chart causes untold sleepless nights for new parents.  Having experienced all that including an emergency surgical procedure and hospital stay, I can still say that parenting a  young child is a breeze. Adolescence  can be a muthasucka at times, let me tell ya. And the difficulty is twofold. It's not only that kids morph into these new beings but your role to them changes. Babies and young children absolutely idolize their parents... for about 8 years, if you're really lucky you might get a decade.  Then they start to question the world and it seems the first and safest "victim" is you.  Every parent wants their child to be curious about the world and its possibilities. How else would anyone have walked on the moon, created the  internet or fought for the rights of others. We just don' t want to be challenged every damn day from age 9 clear through the completion of college!

In our case it is probably slightly more stressful (for both of us) because for most of the last 11 years it's been a two person ensemble.  And I am indeed speaking about my life with a 15 year old.  One whose moods can change like the temperatures at sunset in the desert. Along with my love of written self expression, my little one also shares my own teenage penchant for ascerbic and snarky quips. We are mother/daughter, room-mates, sounding boards, fan clubs and sources of irritation - she thinks I fuss over the house and my nails too much and I think she walks like a herd of cattle despite weighing just 110 lbs. The absence of other parties in the house requires that we both keep a strong band of BFFs, outside interests and it doesn't hurt that we are both fledgeling writers as well.  Thankfully she and her Grandparents ADORE each other and whenever I need a weekend to myself, a trip to Grandma & Pop-pop's has never failed to cure what ails us.

Regardless, she inspires me more than any singular influence and I hope to be the same to her. And there in lies the power of procreation. You become painfully aware that your successes, habits, failures and excesses provide exemplary and possibly cautionary tales for their futures. And you want to do better, to be better than you were before or even are now.  I'm willing to bet there is not one parent on the planet or the history of parenting who doesn't wish they'd done or or handled something better or differently. I've always said parenting is not an exact science and that the best you can do at the time truly is all there is and prayerfully that will be enough. We all know God-fearing, nearly perfect parents whose kid turned out to be a drug addict or the opposite  - a child with a history or home life so dysfunctional and horrifying you can only marvel at their miraculous success as adults. I know both are extremes but they are realities nonetheless.  We know not where the road from parenthood leads. I wonder, not too much but sometimes, if I should have worked harder to keep my marriage intact at least until she finished high school. Pretty much every thing about our current lives would be so different if I had. But then again based on the young lady she is becoming, I believe I made the right decision including moving to this tiny homogenous town on the cusp of Mason-Dixon line.  So daily, I implore God for her daily portion of Grace and recite this prayer from Marianne Williamson:

Dear God, 
Please take care of my PRECIOUS CHILD
As her path now leads her away from me 
May angels surround her and may she find her way
May my love for her be a light that surrounds her all her living days

(I love you very much in Arabic her  Father tongue)

This song was very popular the year she was born.  When I sang it then,  I always sang it with her in mind and the older she gets the more true it is (except for the reference to a wedding ring, of course)


Teri's Trek said…
Happy anniversary! It's so true that you see things with a whole new clarity when you become a parent. You want your kids to have all of the positive experiences that you had and you desperately want to protect them from the pain and consequences of your own past decisions. All you can do is continue to do your best, acknowledge (to them and to yourself) and accept that you are imperfect, and pray that it all works out in the end!

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