When I was pregnant with my first child, I was absolutely positive I was having a girl. Although we called the baby “McGillicuddy”, in my heart I knew I was having a daughter. We picked out her first name early on, then squabbled over giving her my family middle name (which my husband hated) or a more reasonable substitute we could both tolerate. After about eight hours in the labor room he relented and agreed to the family name. I was relieved. As we were heading to the delivery suite, the obstetrician asked what names we had picked out for the baby. I told him. He said, “But what if you have a boy?” What a concept! We didn’t have very much time left to figure it out, but we really probably should have a boy’s name in reserve. As you have probably figured out, our baby daughter was really a baby son, and the name we chose in a hurry in the delivery room (that of our college room-mate) has served him well now for forty years.
With pregnancy (and husband) Number Two, I had amniocentesis, as I was an “elderly” mother of 35 and my doctor was concerned about my baby’s health. Besides getting a completely clean bill of health, I was also told my baby was a girl! I felt as though I had waited a lifetime for a daughter. This time naming her was easy…a family name from her daddy’s side for her first name, and our precious family middle name, too. By the time she was born, we were well acquainted. She had tiny pink flowers on her nursery wallpaper, tiny pink outfits in her dresser, and a mommy who was head over heels in love.
That baby girl turned 29 today. Raising her was an adventure from Day #1…on Day #3 she visited her first antique shop, along with her grandparents and mommy, and she went to her first restaurant a week later. She has stretched my brain with her questions, made my heart nearly burst with pride as she earned her Kenpo black belt as a 12-year-old, and then sang her way through high school. Now she is mother herself, and I often ask “Where did she learn to do that?” or mutter, “She didn’t learn that from me!” as she solves a particularly gnarly parenting issue with grace and ease. She is such a good mother, and she still stretches my brain as we cuss and discuss important concepts and traditions.
I knew from the beginning that mothering her would be both challenging and extremely satisfying. What I didn’t realize until after it happened was what incredible friends we would become, and that having her in my daily life would help ease the pain and loss of my own mother’s death. My daughter is everything I had hoped she would be: intelligent, compassionate, wise beyond her years, funny, talented, hard-working, stubborn. And she is teaching these things to her own daughters, too.
The sampler I stitched when she was born bears a quotation from Walt Disney, “A dream is a wish your heart makes.” Mothering this daughter has been a heart-dream come true.