That's what I call her...My Maddie Girl. She is my baby girl, and she just blew out three candles on her pink and purple pony cake. Three. This ain't my first rodeo. I know how it works. I know that the days are long and the years are short. I know that cooing and gurgling gives way to little broken sentences all too quickly. I know that with each birthday my children celebrate I am always left shaking my head, misty-eyed, wondering where the time has gone.
Still, it takes me by surprise. Takes my breath away. I was thinking about it the other day. That Beatles song "She's Leaving Home" popped into my head and I was reduced to a sniveling mess.
She's Leaving Home by the Beatles (in case you've never heard it)
So often when I watch Maddie play or dance or sing, I find myself staring into space, unintentionally pressing the mental fast forward button...Suddenly I am waving goodbye as she steps on the school bus, trying not to chew my nails when she takes the car for a spin by herself, videoing her graduation, helping pack the car for college, fixing her veil on her wedding day.... Okay, okay, I know. She's three. I sound psychotic. But if you only realized how quickly the last three years sped by, it's not much of a stretch to imagine the next 30 zooming past at lightening speed.
I'll have 18 short years to really be with Maddie - to love her, teach her, guide her and watch her grow. Well, 15 now. I think one of the scariest things about parenthood is that nagging fear that you will somehow miss the mark. You won't get it right. You will not adequately instill important values and virtues and therefore will somehow damage your child. In the hopes of sparing them discomfort or pain, you will push your own "perfect" agenda [see cookie-cutter life I have planned for Maddie above] and push him or her away.
A dear friend of mine often says his [adult] son grew into a wonderful man in spite of his parenting. I love that line. I know that in many ways, I need to just step back and let Maddie grow into Maddie.
So, I will take a deep breath and try to live in the moment with her. We'll take one day at a time. I will enjoy her twirling and whirling and singing and best of all, her kisses. I will try to stand back and get out of her way (which is probably the safest move anyway since she has all the grace of SNL's Mary Katherine Gallagher).
Picture of SNL's Mary Katherine GallagherPicture of Maddie at her first dance class. Notice the teacher's arm position versus Maddie's...
I can also take great comfort in the fact that I am not the architect of Maddie's life (thank goodness!). That's already been taken care of by the greatest Planner of them all.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
I will love her and do my best to guide her and revel in the fact that I am the lucky one who gets to be called my Maddie Girl's momma. I'm the lucky one who gets to watch her grow...and I look forward to doing just that. Happy birthday, sweetheart.
Maddie singing her favorite song