In three days, the child of my heart will be 29 years old. Her mom was and is a brave, determined, independent woman. Standing at the head of the bed in the delivery room, I was beginning to think that none of us would survive the messy, painful, truly laborious process of birth.I didn’t realize then that I would be her second mother. Her other mother and I were and are close friends and near neighbors
After hours of being pushed, wished and feared for, Jennifer emerged face up, with her clear grey eyes wide open. I would never be the same.
Her mother often travelled for business. The two of us would march down the sidewalk between our houses with all the devices it took to live with a baby for a week. The load grew smaller as she grew larger.
I taught her to thrift, taking her to every seedy junk store I haunted. She would choose some piece of crap which I am sure landed in the trash bin at home. Her taste and eye for value improved, and she thrifts to this day.
She threw a tantrum once, when she was about two. I stared down at her whirling, screaming, red-faced little body. Then I stepped over her and walked away. She developed more attractive ways of making her wishes known.
She called crab rangoon, “cranberry goon,” became a vegetarian at seven, cried when she lost at cards, loved to try on hats, and took off her clothes in a department store when she was three because her tights were itchy. Oh, and very briefly, she took dancing. ( middle child in pic.)
Fast forward. Nobody likes millions of baby pics.
She graduated from college with honors, got her Master’s in Public Health, has a wonderful job many states away, and still has my heart in her grasp.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer late last year, she took family leave to be with me after surgery. Happy birthday, sweetheart.