Twenty-Three years ago feels like yesterday as the memories flood back. There was no mistaking that I had morning sickness, or all day sickness, but I took a half dozen pregnancy tests nonetheless. I was told I more than likely couldn’t ever get pregnant and yet here I was newly married and having a baby. It wasn’t that I didn’t want kids, I did, but I didn’t think it would be then, after all my life was planned out in an organized fashion and this wasn’t on my calendar. It was the second day of my new job and I was certain they’d be more than thrilled at the news of a pregnancy. They say that if you plan God laughs. God certainly laughed and then some.
The pregnancy was not easy. My OB/GYN told me that he was ready to move me into his house. He was joking, kind of. He was also tired of my constant phone calls and visits to the hospital, and I was too. Pre-term labor, bed rest, high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, gaining over 100 pounds, and feeling miserable on one of the hottest summers there was. I had fractured a couple ribs just a month or so before the pregnancy and the baby knew just where to kick. Yeah, pregnancy was so fun. Sarcasm for all those who aren’t sure. Micaela decided to show up a month early, in the astrological sign of Leo – August 11th.
We named her Micaela Brooke, although she had many other names beforehand. She was going to be Ander or Hunter if a boy, but she was a girl and for awhile we called her Samantha but once we saw her we knew she was Micaela, meaning gift from God. I admit there were times checked to see if there was a return policy. Micaela was colicky and moody. Her tantrums were fierce, as was her independence, and I loved every bit of her. Most days. She hated car seats, but driving around was one of the only things that could calm her into sleep. She hated her hair brushed, hair cut, or hair washed. That was a fun time. She hated pink and went through a phase of wearing just black (she might still be in that phase). She loved Gymboree, gymnastics, books, and staying up late. If I had a quarter for every “but I’m not tired” or “I’m thirsty”, I’d be rich. I was rich in love. Still am.
To-be parents often picture the personality of their child beforehand, and again, they prove you wrong. I couldn’t have had a child more different than me. Micaela was a night owl. Still is. I wasn’t. Micaela loves messes. I love organization. I like to plan. She hates everything spooky. I love it.She doesn’t like being told what to do. Wait, me either. She loves to read. Me too. She’s a beautiful writer. I love to write. She loves sweets. Ditto. So as she got older and stopped fighting me on every single thing, I started to see that there were similarities, whether she wants to admit it.
August 11th she turns 23 years old. She’s married and living in North Carolina now. It’s been months since I’ve been able to hug her, something I ache to do. I realize it is a cliché, but it’s true all the same that it seems just like yesterday when I brought her home from the hospital. There are many regrets that I have, most of all the regret of time. I wish I could’ve taken her to her field trips instead of worked. I wish I would have sat down and colored with her instead of doing the dishes. I wish I could’ve laughed more during her childhood, and not cried. I wish I could’ve held back my temper with her (but she IS a Leo and gosh darn it, it is hard!). I wish I could’ve set aside frustration and impatience and let things rolled off my shoulders. Regrets only make you sad and hung up on the past, though. Instead, I want to remember those very fast 23 years with happiness and lessons. And it will never matter what birth date it is, she will always be my beautiful baby girl.