Each year on the girls’ birthdays I write a little something for them. It began long ago out of the need for them to know how happy I was to be their mom. My own mom used to tell Lisen and me on our birthdays that “she was so glad it wasn’t X amount of years ago”. I’ve said it before that while I think she thought it was a funny statement, it was actually not funny at all. But that’s my mom for you, and it’s my intention to be a million times different for my children. When I woke Zoe up this morning, I whispered in her ear, “I’m so happy you were born.” And it’s true…every word of it. Even on the hard days.
I read back to what I wrote for Zoe last year, and it almost made me cry. We have been through a lot this year in this family. There has been so much change for Zoe and her sister: some of it good change, and some of it tricky and difficult. And none of it is just my story to tell. But. I will say that I got upset reading my post from last year because I feel like Zoe is a different kiddo today than she was on March 30th of 2015. Zoe’s anxiety has diminished almost a hundred percent. She has learned to name her feelings in a way that most adults can’t even do very well. Zoe is still feisty, sassy and a whole lot like her mama. She says things before she thinks about them very much, and sometimes those things make me laugh. Sometimes they’re pretty hurtful. But through it all, Zoe is Zoe. She owns her emotions, good and bad, and she makes no apologies for being herself. I hope more than anything that she can harness that and hold onto it into adulthood. It would serve her well.
I have had to do some giving up of control over the girls these last several months. I realized how much I was stepping into their lives and trying to help when those were times they could and should be helping themselves. It’s been hard for me, and I have learned so much about myself and about my girls in the process. What helps, more than anything, is that I have a wonderful support system. Zoe has a wonderful support system. The sweet counselor at her school has become a beacon for Zoe, and for me sometimes as well. In a recent email from her, she says about Zoe, “It is amazing to hear her talk and reflect back over how she was vs. how she is. She is able to say, "I just tell myself that I am strong and I am ok."
I read that sentence the first time and cried. I cried because Zoe’s strength is recognizing her strength. Again, something most adults, her mother included, have trouble doing. She is going to be an amazing 9 year old, and I cannot wait to see the kind of person she becomes. You don’t get to pick your kiddos. You get to shape them a little bit as you go, but what I’ve learned is that, in the end, you have very little control over their personalities. I’m so glad I got a Zoe. And I am so glad that 9 years ago today happened. I wouldn’t have it any other way.