Thursday, July 2, 2009
It’s coming up sooner than I ever thought possible…Deanna is turning 4 years old next week. July 11th. I cannot believe it. How did this happen? Where did the time go? I feel like she was just a googly-eyed, bobble-headed infant yesterday. Now she’s swimming underwater in the deep end by herself, asking more and more questions about my “tummy mommy” status, and turning into such a precocious little girl. It’s hard to believe she’s not a baby anymore. I usually refer to Deanna as “the little babe.” I think when she’s 22 years old I’ll still want to call her “the little babe.” I’m sure people probably wonder if it’s hard watching her grow up since I’m not really raising her. The answer is yes. Yes, I still have those maternal feelings of wanting her to stay little forever. But I am also so thankful that I have the opportunity to actually see her grow up. Birthdays are always tough for me. In fact, July 11th is the most difficult day of the entire year. On Deanna’s first birthday, I went to her birthday party with my mom and all of the Leonards. I started crying when they sang “happy birthday” and I had to leave the party. I felt bad because I know that I made a lot of people feel uncomfortable. Robbie followed me down the driveway and I told him it was too much to handle. I knew I shouldn’t have gone, but I didn’t want to upset anyone by not showing up. De came out to talk with me and she made me feel so much better. I’ll always remember that heart-to-heart that we had in the driveway. I decided that birthdays were just going to be too much for me and that I shouldn’t attend any more. On Deanna’s second birthday I was really sad. I was doing the summer nanny thing for the three cutest little girls in Raleigh, and on July 11th I suddenly came down with an awful migraine headache. I couldn’t see, my vision was blurred, and my thoughts were all jumbled together. I had to leave work and go home to sleep it off. I stayed in my room the entire day and cried and cried. I allowed myself one day of self-pity, and that was all. The next day I was absolutely fine. Deanna’s third birthday was alot different. Deanna and her family had moved to Myrtle Beach, and they were having a big birthday celebration at their new house. Don sent me a text message a week before the party. “I know birthdays are hard for you,” he said, “but I want you to know that you are always welcome.” Then he sent a picture of Deanna biting into a huge slice of watermelon with text that read, "three years ago..." I decided to give it another try. I ended up going with my best friend Angela and the Leonards to celebrate Deanna’s 3rd birthday in Myrtle Beach. It was a milestone. I didn’t cry at the party. I could see how happy Deanna was and how much she loved her family, home, dog, everything. And I loved watching her face light up when everyone sang happy birthday. I think that's when I knew for sure that everything would be okay. I probably won’t be able to make it Myrtle Beach this year, but I hope to plan a trip to see the little babe and celebrate her birthday soon. And I’m sure this I’ll probably shed a few tears this July 11th. But instead of viewing it as a sad day, I’m trying to stay positive. I'm starting realize that each birthday Deanna has is actually a chance for me to grow as a person and for us all to celebrate the fact that so many people have been blessed by such a wonderful little girl.