13. It changes everything. 

The year was 2002. I think you’d still consider us newlyweds. A year and a half counts, right? I think it does. The fall colors were starting to change as was our married life. On October 13th in the wee hours of the morning, 12:47 to be exact, we met our beautiful daughter Caitlin. Looking down at this precious little baby made my heart full. I could just imagine us watching her crawl, walk, play, share heartaches and secrets, giggle with her friends, going to dances and graduating college. Life was going to be perfect.

Fast forward to today. We have seen crawling, walking, playing, giggling with friends and going to dances. I’ve even been told a secret or two (it’s okay you can gasp!). Here’s what I wasn’t thinking about while holding my beautiful newborn : crying, more crying, the word NO, attitude, hormones, arguing, her ability to want independence and my inability to let go. The number one thing I wasn’t thinking about, how much it would hurt me watching her grow up. Not physically, just in case you were thinking that. I’m talking emotional pain. 

Every year on the first day of school I get teary-eyed because my baby has gotten a year older. This year was a completely different story. She started eighth grade and while that doesn’t seem like a big deal to most, it was the start of a count down for me. One year until high school. Five years until graduation which means five years until she’ll be leaving. These past thirteen years have flown by so fast that I imagine the next five years going by in a flash. Not to mention the drama that’s sure to come, keeping her safe, keeping her pure and trying to protect her from the world. Add in teaching her how to clean, cook, balance a checkbook, deal with stress, get a job and work hard. I have a headache just thinking about it! 

Here’s the reality. I’m not ready to give up my baby just yet. I’m not ready for her to grow up. I want to keep her young and innocent for as long as possible. But on October 13, 2015 at 12:47 am, my daughter turned thirteen. She’s not a baby anymore, she’s not a toddler and certainly not a young child she’s a young lady who is extremely caring, sweet, smart, beautiful and wonderful. I am extremely blessed to have her. So maybe, just maybe I will let her grow up to be 13. But no more birthdays after this. I’m going to have a 13 year old forever.

Wait. I just remembered. 13 year olds are going through the changes and mood swings. Maybe I can last until 14. Then no birthdays!!


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