Monday, February 12, 2007

My daughter's birthday

Tomorrow, my daughter will be 20mumble. That is how she put it, anyway. 26, if you are her mother and remember every minute of that morning in technicolour. With sound too. How can those years have flashed by so quickly? I am amazed when I look at the figures, and realise that I was her age when she was born. She is now exactly half my age. Or rather, I am double hers.

I remember going to see my obstetrician for a check up the day before, and although she was only due on the 23rd, he asked if I was ready to have my baby. Yes, I said, of course. Any day except tomorrow. It was going to be Friday 13th. You can guess what happened. Midnight. As soon as it was Friday 13th, I went into labour. Of course.
Now, you have to remember that Geoff was away when I had Andrew, so this was his first experience of childbirth. He was running about like a demented flea, and when we got to the hospital, he flew through the doors, and I waddled after him, "breathing". As I walked through the revolving doorway, I suddenly remembered every minute of Andrew's birth, so I kept going and headed out again, and was on the way back to the car when he came flying out to find me. "Where do you think you are going?" he yelled. "Home", I replied. "I have just remembered it all, and I have changed my mind". Yes, well. He had just come face to face with rational woman. In her prime.

My finest moment. Well, Geoff learned a lot about rational woman that morning. I was sick with every contraction, and in the end, just leaned over the bed and did what I had to do. Little men were scurrying about mopping. I refused to wear anything at all, to everyone's consternation, but you tried to reason with me at your peril. A woman in the final stages of labour? I don't think so. The Queen could have entered the room, and I would not have changed my mind. And in the end, I remember whining (loudly) that they should just slit me open then and there, forget the anaesthetic, and GET THAT BABY OUT. As I said.... I was a star. Restrained and dignified. Serene, even. Everyone ignored me, and she arrived the way nature intended. Perfect, of course. And worth every second of it.

So, my daughter was born. 20mumble years ago. She trailed after her big brother, dragging her beloved blanket with her, refused to wear dresses, (I told her her one dress was a long sweatshirt) ,climbed trees, loved care bears, and looked just like Annie, with her long red ringlets. She nearly drowned when she leapt into the deep end of the pool when she was 3, but learnt to swim like a fish soon after.

She made friends easily, loved school, worked hard, was a star when her little brother was born 8 years later, and she has a grin that lights up the world. She has travelled that world, in her Gap year, gone to London to university, and has worked for the church here in the UK, and now in New Zealand. She has built a wonderful life in a place where she knew no-one initially. She has listened when God has revealed His plans to her, and has gone where He needed her to go. She is living the life He always intended her to lead, and as her Mum, I sit here and watch, and cheer her on as well as I can. I am in awe of her strength and her faith.

When you meet my daughter, you can't help but smile. She is unique, very special, and quite obviously, the best daughter in the world. Mine. She loves her brothers (now - that wasn't always the case! Contrary to public opinion, they were never little angels), and they are all very close, which is yet another reason to smile. Just don't let them play Risk. Ever. She has been the most amazing support to me, and to all the family as we have clawed our way through the harsh times, both with my Dad 7 years ago and then with her Dad 7 months ago. She brings a vibrancy and energy with her, and nothing is quiet when she is around.

As a geographer, she has climbed glaciers, been up a volcano, seen bubbling mud, and felt an earthquake. She has had her dissertation on Climate Change published, and now she is the Pied Piper to a community of children who adore her. She is artistic and intelligent, full of laughter and life, and yet has a hidden side which is quiet and introspective, reflective. She is only 20mumble, and yet she has crammed so much into those years. Heaven knows what comes next! I miss her. We all do. Thank heavens for technological advances. And finally, we know now that we are going to fly out to spend a holiday with her later this year. All of us. Her brothers, sister-in-law, and her Mum. I am not sure whether New Zealand is ready for the mass invasion.
Please note that I have edited out all lapses and irritations. I am her mother. It is allowed. She is as human as we all are. It is her birthday. Those can wait for another day!

I am, simply, so proud of my daughter. So, Happy Birthday, Diana! We love you loads and loads. MD.


Morning Glory said...

That's one of the most precious tributes to a daughter I've ever read! Your pride in her just simply glows.

I do love the 20mumble. I think I will now be 50mumble. Very nice. I can cope with that.

Happy birthday to Diana!

Diana said...

What a wonderful tribute to your daughter! She must be a very special person. I hope you all have a wonderful time in New Zealand!

Anonymous said...

esther says
I think that she is amazing too!

Linds said...

Hi Esther! It is lovely to see you pop up again. I hope you and Andy are well and having fun in London!

Barb said...

Your birth story cracked me up. I did the same thing. Toward the end, I told the nurses, "I'm leaving now. Get someone else to do this, OK?" We truly aren't responsibly for anything at all during transition, are we?

My goodness, I can't believe she's mumbling about 26. I can barely even remember being 26! Happy Birthday, Diana. :-)