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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

As the years go by........

 I give thanks for the gift of motherhood.  Either I've done something incredibly right or I was just blessed with the most amazing children on the planet just because....
Whatever......I'm hoping it's a little of both.

Happy Birthday to my fashionista girl! 

Today, this beautiful, talented, smart, funny, sweet girl---
my gift from God---my daughter--- is turning 22.  

Of course, we have a suitable celebration happening.....a little spa-la-la-laing, a little lunching at her favorite courtyard spota little shopping and then meeting Carmen for a  lovely late dinner at a special place in a picturesque part of our fair city....  And then?  Well....who knows!
No matter how the day will end, I promise it will be special......because we are doing it together!  

The funny thing is that she has been dreading her 22nd birthday.   Can you imagine?
After all the hoopla and excitement of her 21st, she sees 22 as being very anti climactic.   
"What's exciting about a 22nd birthday?" she has asked over and over again.
Of course, as a 54 year old, I can give her a long, long, long list of things to be excited about.....but I hold my reasons make me sound old.  
What I can say is that I am excited  for her 22nd birthday.
 In fact, I am excited about every birthday I share with her.
Each year of her life has brought me so much joy and happiness that celebrating every moment, every milestone---everything--doesn't even seem like enough.
Each day of being her mother and her my daughter is worthy of a  celebration of epic proportions.  Ending each moment we have together with a celebration of thanks is how I roll...especially when it comes to my precious children.
Sometimes I can't even believe my good fortune for having such a beautiful, wonderful child.
This girl who I named after my mother.
This girl who doesn't remotely even look like me.
This girl who adores all things fashion....all things pink and all things pretty and girly.
This girl who has  made me laugh and smile from the day she entered this earth---even on those imperfect days when life is anything but perfect. 
She was created just for me.
It was as if God and all the angels said, "Judi needs a girl like this," and they dusted her with fairy dust and sent her directly to me.....all tied up with ribbons and bows and with a face so sweet and rosey and a smile so precious and dear....
Having been bestowed such an awesome gift, I always see it as my responsibility to be the most awesome mother ever.
Although the journey has been lovely, I know I have made my share of mistakes and missteps.   Sometimes those mistakes and missteps have been small....sometimes they have been notsosmall.  Having an imperfect and not-100%-awesome mother has been her burden at times.
At other times, it's been her gift.
There are moments when I see the marks...both good and notsogood....that I have made on her life and I look deep inside myself to either strengthen them or to try to rectify them. 
There's one facet of how I've lived my life that I worry about how it has affected my daughter---my struggle with my weight. 
 I know my own mother's weight struggles and how she viewed herself because of her weight and how it  deeply affected more ways than just her death from dieting.  
 I freely and red-facedly admit that my daughter watched my self image become attached to my weight and that she knew just how awful I felt about being so overweight.
She knew I didn't like myself at times....because of my weight. 
She knew I cried over being fat.
She heard the words I said.
 Just as I heard my own mother's words and knew her pain and saw her tears.
My daughter was my closest ally--even at the tender age of 16--when I began my Lap Band journey.  She made it her business to learn about nutrition and healthy eating---so she could help me.
She taught me lessons in the grocery store, she gave me tips on understanding labels and calories and protein and she pushed me to begin my walking regimen.
Yes, she encouraged me and applauded me all the way....every day.
Along the way--she developed the wonderful healthy living habits that she still practices until this day. 
There were times that I wondered if she dove into her own healthy lifestyle because she didn't want to be like me....having to struggle with weight and to have weight loss surgery or if it was just her natural progression and maturing that made her change her eating habits and to develop a strong interest in exercise.
 I may never know that answer but I'm thankful for the result.
She has a  beautiful, healthy body to go along with her beautiful, healthy spirit and mind. 
Yet, there are times when we are shopping or when she is getting ready to go somewhere and she begins to berate her body--her Size 2 body.  
And, I begin to worry.
I wonder what damage I've done.
Can I undo that damage? 
Are there words I can say that would make her love every inch of her body and be truly happy with who she is and what she looks like? 
What can I say to let  her know that it's NOT her body or her looks that define her? 
Those questions always plague me.
The answers are the gifts that I haven't been able to fully give her.....yet I am constantly trying.

The other day, I happened upon this article..... and it touched me in many ways.
Very deeply.

In honor of my daughter's 22nd birthday and my 22nd anniversary of being the mother of a precious young woman who I named after my own mother, I wanted to share it with you.
And, I shall share it with my daughter.
She may not see it as the perfect gift.
But, I do.  


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