Wednesday, April 08, 2009

and she's twelve...

Some fret over each passing year. For some, each birthday, most especially those "milestone" ones like 25, or 30, or 50, is met more with mourning than with celebration. I've never really had that problem. (At least so far.)

But, like many a parent, every time one of the kiddo's has a birthday, it feels somewhat like a punch in the gut. Of course, on the outside, it's fun and celebration mode. But there's that voice in the brain saying, "How did this happen?!! How can another year have flown by with such speed?!!" And it's not that you don't want your children to grow and flourish. It's not that you don't want them to become happily more independent. It's not that you don't want to be witness to the incredible changes they go through. It's not that you don't want to see each amazing, unique little person mature while hanging onto that amazing, unique personality that makes them so special.

But it would be a boldface lie if I were to say that each of their birthdays doesn't make me a bit sad as well. For every wondrous "new" phase in their lives means saying goodbye to the "old" phase. And with every year that passes, they need me just a little bit less...and yes, I admit it, I like being needed. Every day that goes by is one day closer to the day they walk out the door to grasp that life that will have little to do with me. Yes, I know full-well how selfish I sound. And I would never in a million years want to do anything to hold Annie, or Gray, or Max, back from following their dreams. Honest.

Still, in private, I needed to shed a few tears today. For somehow, twelve years ago this beautiful little being showed her sweet face to us for the first time...and in a flash, she's now this beautiful young lady. She's nearly as tall as I am. She's taking college classes. She's loaded with dreams for her future.

Okay, enough of my pout-fest.


Annie today, as she turns twelve:

Interview answers by Annie.
(Followed by commentary by me.)

Choice for birthday breakfast: chocolate dipped strawberries and mini glazed donuts with sprinkles
(She's throwing caution to the wind today. :) In general, she's very conscious of eating healthy.)

Favorite foods: pizza salad, mozzarella sticks, chocolate dipped strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
(She's been a vegetarian since the age of six.)

Present most wanted for birthday: mini laptop
(Despite it costing waaaaaay more than we would normally spend on a birthday, we did come through for her. She works so hard and it really will be useful for we caved.)

Best friend: Cece.
(The giggle sisters.)

Favorite books: Warriors series. His Dark Materials. LOTR. Harry Potter series. Twilight saga.

Favorite ways to spend free time: Reading. Hanging out with friends. Playing outside. Writing. Hanging with the animals.
(By "the animals" she meant the cats and dog, but she does love hanging with her brothers, too.)

Favorite school "subjects": Writing. Science. History. Literature.
(Anything but math.)

Looking forward to during the coming year: Meeting new people. Visiting new places through books, and in real life. The Children's Literature course I'm taking at MCC this fall. The Read-a-thon.

For supper tonight: The China Buffet or Friendlys.

Current career goals: Infectious disease specialist for the CDC. Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court. Veterinarian. Author.
(A girl's gotta keep her options open, right?)

Would most like to visit: Alaska. The Bahamas. Spain. Japan. Mars.
(And any thrift store she can find.)


Joy said...

This was really sweet, Debi and Happy Birthday to Annie! I laughed out loud at the comment about the "animals". :)

Nymeth said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANNIE! You couldn't be more awesome if you tried. Mmm, chocolate dipped strawberries. Throwing caution to the wind is what birthdays are for :D My favourite thing about my birthday is the pineapple cheesecake. I'm serious :P

Debi: *hugs* It's only natural to feel a little sad, you know. But considering how awesome a mom you are, even when they're 100% independent your kids will never stop being close to you.

Shelley said...

Happy Birthday Annie! I hate math too!
I remember crying on one of my oldest daughter's birthdays because every time I looked at her all I saw was a vision of her when she was three! She thought I was going nuts!

Amanda said...

Happy birthday, Annie!

Debi - is she participating in the read-a-thon, too? If so, that's a big WOW out to her!!

Eva said...

Happy birthday Annie!! That's a great variety of career goals. And yay for vegetarians! hehe I'll have to think about my birthday breakfast-it's on Saturday. I think April babies are the best. ;)

Debi, I completely understand why you're a bit sad (when my niece turned 3, I felt *similarly* though probably not as extreme...but I really miss her baby-ness, she's such a little girl now). BUT I totally disagree with the "And with every year that passes, they need me just a little bit less." The older I get, the more I need my mom...and the more I appreciate her for always being there. I know my sister agrees with me. And I have a feeling Annie will be the same way!

Chris said...

Happy Birthday to Annie!!! She looks beautiful in that picture :) And I loved reading her answers to the questions...quite a cool girl!

I can certainly understand your feeling sad a little bit during your children's birthdays Debi. I've never been a parent but I can empathize and see how much you must just want time to slow down so that they'll stay young. Shoot! I'm going to be 28 in May and I'm still living at home! And if you asked my mom, she'd never want me to move out ;) In fact, I've caught her crying when I went looking for houses, lol. You're not alone in that.

Grad said...

Happy Birthday, Miss Annie! Mini glazed donuts with sprinkles sounds like the perfecto-mento breakfast to me, too. And Debi, I really get how you are feeling. The day the first of my three kids left home was so sad...but happy...but sad. It's so great to see them grow and become who they were meant to be, but it's hard to let go. You still have lots of time to enjoy them as children. Sounds you're doing a wonderful job.

Scrap girl said...

Happy birthday to Annie. How grown up. Wow, the career goals - infectious disease specialist - my things have changed since I was a child, then we just wanted to be nurses or teachers. Children are so much more specific now. I hope she had a fabulous birthday -it was nice to meet her.

Carl V. said...

Happy Birthday to you Annie and my condolences to you Debi and Rich! Time does indeed fly. Next year, a teenager!!! (Bless you, my children).

Very fun to read the facts about Annie.

I wish you the heartiest of 'happy birthdays' and certainly hope you enjoy every day of being twelve. It really is a magical year that may not seem like it until it is well into your past. I hope every day is filled with adventure.

I must say now that should you ever take that trip to Mars I expect to be invited along, even if it is just to carry your luggage!

Amanda said...

You have such a beautiful daughter. I can only home I will be as successful with my own children!

Jean said...

Happy Birthday to Annie! I mailed a card from Vietnam, but who knows when it might get there. Her birthday present is safely packed in one of the suitcases and will be mailed from Virginia in May. And a big YEA!! for mini-laptops. I absolutely love Pinky! She welcomes Annie's netbook into the larger Stevens family of computers.

Kailana said...

Happy Birthday, Annie! I didn't like math in school, either!

Great post!

Melody said...

Happy Birthday, Annie!!! :)
This is a sweet post dedicated to Annie, and I enjoyed every moment reading it.

And hey, I hate maths too! :P

Trish said...

She is absolutely gorgeous! Happy Birthday Annie! I know that you feel a little sad because my mom is going through the same thing with my brother who is almost 13 (and he's the youngest), BUT I know that my mom also cherishes how our relationship has evolved into a great friendship now that we girls are older. It is bitter sweet, but there is a lot of sweet to look forward to.

Anonymous said...

Such a sweet, thoughtful post, Debi... *hugs*

Happy birthday, Annie! I hope you'll have (or had) a fantastic day!

I envy you that children's literature course... Do want. The closest my courses have come are Kipling and Carroll during our semester of "quick overview of Victorian literature"... Hope you'll enjoy the course! (And maths is evil, I concur. But then I can't even count properly. ^-~)

DesLily said...

very happy birthday Annie!

(debi: if you think these 12 yrs have flown by... well, you ain't seen nothin' yet baby. Each year goes just a little faster. It gets downright scary)

Ali said...

I get that nostalgia on their birthdays, too. Ben's 12th felt like a huge birthday to me. Maybe it's the height thing. It's been 3 months and I still just can't get over how old he is!

Staci said...

Happy Birthday Annie..I'm late!! You sound like such a great kid with spirit and vitality!! Love the different options you're thinking about as you grow up!!

(hugs) to Mom. You're doing a fantastic job...what a great kid!!

Kim L said...

Happy birthday, Annie! I hope twelve is an excellent year for you. Enjoy your laptop, that is a nice present!

Amy said...

So this is a bit late but Happy Birthday to Annie!

And Debi...I'm sure if I had children I would be the same. I have a hard time letting go of the passing, even if the new things coming in are just as good.

I about had a heart attack when I realized my niece's birthday is tomorrow. She'll be 3 but I haven't seen her since she was 18 months. I just wanted to cry. (I know it's not the same, but I hate that I miss so much of their lives)