I can remember when Jenna was tiny.
Only vaguely though.
She didn't sleep for the first 6 months of her life.
She just didn't want to miss anything.
When she was able to get about on her own, she slept a bit more.
She was also a momma's girl.
She didn't want to be with anyone else.
Not even Daddy.
I think we can all agree that babies and toddlers are challenging creatures to be around.
Despite their cuteness, and silliness, and smiles and curiosity, parenting the tiny ones is the hardest job I've ever had.
There were times when I wished the days away.
"It will be so much easier when they can feed themselves."
"It will be so much easier when they can say what they want."
"It will be so much easier when....."
People told me to enjoy those days.
That the years will fly by and before I know it they'll be gone.
I thought they were full of hooey.
They'd just forgotten.
They were right!
The days of diaper changes, up all nights, snuggles, gooey fingers, and bear hugs are gone.
The days of complete wonder and curiosity are gone.
They've been replaced by busy schedules, homework, and teenage angst.
I wasted so many of those wonder-filled days by feeling overworked and underpaid.
I failed to feel the joy on so many occasions when it was right there in front of me, wanting
If you have toddlers and are reading this, please be aware that the years truly do fly.
The tiny, blue-eyed baby in the first picture is now 18 years old.
I was able to to realize, when she was still a little girl, that time was flying by.
I was able to watch with pride, while she magically got 3 toads to sit one on top of the other in her tiny, four-year old hands.
I was able to share her excitement at holding a just-hatched Monarch butterfly.
I was able to feel my heart ache with her, as she sat sobbing on her first pet's grave.
I was able to ferry her through some difficult times following the fall of the Twin Towers.
I was able to answer question after question about the world around her.
I was able to admit that I can't help with her math homework much past 8th grade.
There are 18 years of "I was able."
There were many, many, many times when "I didn't".
I missed so much.
Next year, I'll miss her birthday.
My bright, sweet, smart, happy baby girl will be away at college---in Iowa.
I have faith that her friends at school will be giving her a grand birthday celebration.
I'm so very proud of who she has become.
I don't know where the years went.
I do know that I am amazed by her every single day.
Ever so grateful that she is a part of my life.
Happy Birthday, Peep!