Georgia turned 14 today. When she woke up and got dressed, I called her over to my desk.
Do you want to see the photos of you right after you were born? You mean when I was all wrinkled and red? No.
Do you know the time you were born? 10:04 a.m.
Do you know who was the first one to see you besides Dad?
She knew; she knows it all. Then she sat up excitedly in the scanty new Brandy Melville shorts and crop top, a gift from a girlfriend. “My favorite outfit of all time.” She was up late last night fielding happy birthday texts. “Really long ones.” She was going to walk into our little downtown and spend the day with pals.
“I’ll be in touch,” she said, on top of the world.
Then it was clear: she’s reached the point where parents don’t give you a birthday. Your friends do. I have a familiar sense of where I am in this go-round. Precisely where I was 14 years ago. After her birth I was too sick to see her for several days. I was no more useful for the next, oh, seven years. Through feeding and teething, coughs and fevers, tears and terrors, night after night, I felt just as clueless then as now. But something spoke to me, coaxed me out of my fright and confusion, brought me solace, and one day the crib was emptied.
“Today is a day to celebrate,” a knowing friend said to me. What shall I celebrate? Coming this far, I suppose. Having far to go. Being upright, in comfortable shoes, with a good dog at my side, friends near and far, an empty road ahead, and absolutely no idea.
Absolutely no idea.
I’ll be in touch.
Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of Momma Zen, a rite of passage, published the year Georgia turned seven. Winner selected this Sunday, Aug. 18.