Saturday, February 17, 2007
Happy Birthday Sarbear
She started it all, 31 years ago today. That day I turned the corner, from a young girl into a mother. I was halfway between 20 and 21 when she was born. Looking back at how little I knew, how ill equipped I was to care for her, it's amazing God entrusted her to me. I suspect He watched over us very closely those first few years.

This is Sarah, as undressed as you'll ever see her on the web. She was about 2 years old here. Bathing in the kitchen sink. She hated water in her eyes, and they sold this funky thing that you shoved down over your head. The W.C. Fields cookie jar was a wedding present, because her dad loved him. The kitchen counters were covered in orange-flowerdy contact paper. Very limited funds, very yellow kitchen. It's nice to look back and remember - kids don't really care about things like money and decor; they just know if they're loved. She was, and the look on her face shows she knew it.

I didn't know enough to know I didn't know anything, when I brought her home in a Denver snowstorm. Coming home from the hospital, I wore my old blue jeans. That alone tells you how young I was! We both wore barrettes at the same time. She was my buddy, more than my daughter for a number of years.

She was about 3 years old here, helping me bake something. This is one of my all-time favorite photos of her. Blue jeans, sweater, braids. When I think back, this is how I remember her, as a little girl. I wonder if Addison will look a bit like this in a few years. You can see here her dad had redone our kitchen by then. A new countertop and tile, but W.C. hung around.

This was taken by her father, Ed, after he and I divorced. He was in the tough stage of learning to live 750 miles away from her. When I look at this photo, I'm struck by her innocent happiness, and how sad he must have been at the time. The little brown shirt is one I sewed for her. Her Barbie had a matching outfit. Why I sewed anything brown for a little girl, or a Barbie for that matter, is beyond me. At least the coat is pink.

She's about 4 or 5 here, playing with her sister's christmas present (a table and dishes set), before Christmas. The bear was her father's; the doll is Bottle Baby, but the dog? Snoopy. He costs 15 cents at a garage sale, and that's the one stuffed animal she took to college. That's the one she became completely attached to. Maybe because it was her 15 cents. I still think, when you talk to her about him, that she thinks he's just a little bit real. Loved much like the Velveteen Rabbit, he may well be.

This is her 5th birthday party. The beautiful pink dress was a gift from her father. I was about 6 months pregnant with her sister, Leslie at this time. February birthdays in a small town in North Dakota were kept simple. In the kitchen with a few friends. We had too many blizzards to chance planning anything away from home.

Birthday #8, a dress-up with hats party; the little one in the middle of the pile of girls is her younger sister, Leslie. Sarah is the one with her arms in the air. I still remember this as a really fun party. Giggles galore!

She was about 11 here, and bows were very big that year. Big as in fashion statement, big as in size. The girl with the red one, Jenny Deller, was her best friend. Sarah is in the green top, with lovely yellow headbow.

When I finally got more earnest about me growing up, we locked horns some. Being a parent, you're not as popular as when you're a friend. If I could stand on one soapbox for moms today, I'd tell them - be the mom. Your kids will have lots of friends. Be the mom. They only get one. It took me awhile to learn that lesson myself.

For her 16th birthday, the big "drive year" we surprised her
with balloons in her room when she woke up. She was into Elvis about that time.

I could write pages, seriously, about how proud I am of her. How well she's turned out. The woman of God, wife, mother, friend, sister she is. She is all those things. Some things run too deep to even attempt to write about. How I love her is one of them.

She made me a mom, for the first time, 31 years ago. She's my daughter. She's also my friend. If you summed up the pages that I won't write, that's what you'd come up with. It's enough.

If you are one of the rare people who visits my blog, but hasn't met her yet, you can go here to say Happy Birthday. Spend some time getting to know her; you'll like her. I promise. She's a real gem.

Happy Birthday dear Sarbear. Love, Mom.


  posted at 11:06 PM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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