She's fourteen now. When did this happen? How am I the parent of a child on the verge of adulthood? I was nineteen when her birth transformed my identity. Today, I am thirty-three. Is she so close to that part of her life and the leaving? I'm so thankful for Eva and the ways she has taught me grace, strength, and the value of a bit of stubborn dedication to the task at hand.
It takes a strong child to be the eldest; to be the one with whom a parent first encounters the immense gift and responsibility that is the raising of a child into maturity. When I became a mother, I felt certain that I had just stepped from my own childhood into the adult world. I was bewildered by the self control and utter abandon to faith that parenting requires. There were many ways I could have been a better mother. I could have relaxed on the potty training or the early reading lessons.
These are not the things I remember with joy about her growing years: it is the walks hand in hand that took an hour, though they were only down the road. It is the wonder with which she noticed her own shadow for the first time. It is the abandon with which she swung tulips around in the spring time. It is the swelling of joy when she, a quiet one, first stepped on a stage to stage a play. It is the beauty of the gift she gave to earthquake victims by crocheting and selling tiny things on their behalf. It is the joy of the laugh welling up in her after too many hours of serious thought.
This is my daughter, Evangeline Malia, and I am so thankful she was born those fourteen years ago.
|We like to have a birthday week in our family. There's the friend birthday party, the family birthday party, and the on-your-birthday birthday party. This was the last party.|
|Cake making is her latest passion. She has decorated cupcakes with fondant.|
|Her dear friend decorated this one.|