Dear Crissy

Edge of seventeen

Edge of Seventeen - Why it's both painful and beautiful to watch a child get older

Actually, she’s on the edge of turning just one, but what’s sixteen years give or take when you’re a mother?

Sometimes I feel like I am encapsulated within a snow globe. A pair of large hands have given my world a good shake, and the memories—like fleeting crystal flakes—dance in and out of my grasp.

And the days go by like a strand in the wind. — Stevie Nicks

In four days this sweet and spirited baby girl will be a 1-year-old. Heart? Commence breaking into a million little pieces.

Of course, I am sitting alone as I write this sob-story. Kara is in bed, and I am staring at a photo of her sparkling little smile.

I am reliving the memories of her amazing birth, and of course, the scenes from the last year click by in my brain like the slides in a plastic viewfinder.

Luckily, she’ll wake up in the morning, and the Mommy-heartache I feel now—so strong I’m sure it might overwhelm me—will be washed away by one sure fact: my little girl is flourishing—and there is really nothing more beautiful than that.

Even though it means that with each giggle and flutter of long dark lashes, she inches closer to becoming an actual big girl—and someday, a woman.

Edge of Seventeen - Why it's both painful and beautiful to watch a child get older

This isn’t the birthday post.

Well, maybe it’s part one of the birthday post, but I have so much more to say about this little girl and about her amazing first year.

I feel like I have a lot of making up to do when it comes to documenting Kara’s milestones. So much of my pregnancy with her is a blur due to my severe morning sickness, and so much of her first six months or so are equally fuzzy thanks to her unrelenting colic.

It’s a big week in these parts. My birthday is December 13th, Kara’s is December 14th, and my father’s is December 15th.

I love this ornery little beauty more and more every day, and I would endure the morning sickness and the colic, and every insignificant little ache and pain that comes along with motherhood all over again, without question.

Being a mom isn’t always easy, but it’s always, always worth it.

Now, tell me this post didn’t make Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks start playing in your head? You’re welcome!

    26 Comments on “Edge of seventeen”

  1. She’s so cute!

  2. I love her face!

  3. I have a 17-year old and yes, I can guarantee you, the years fly by! It goes SO fast. It doesn’t take much to break our hearts into a million pieces, does it? I hope your beautiful baby girl is having a wonderful birthday today. ♥

  4. Darlin, totally understand. I am now a grandmother of 2. Tanner will be 2 this Saturday, that little curtain climber made me a grandma. My other grandchild is Lexirose & just turned 1 a month ago. And now… think…. these are my grandbabies. My daughter (lexirose’s mom) Nichole is 27 & my son Jay is 23 (Tanner’s daddy). They grow so fast. We were lucky to have a camera or could afford the film & development when our kids were young. I am making up for it now with their babies.

    It has been an amazing journey seeing Kara grow into this beautiful abundant little one. She will be 27 before you know it.

    You are amazing…..


  5. Happy birthday to your beautiful daughter!! Happy birthdy to you as well! We share a birthday :) I’m with you – my little one will be turning one in March and I cannot even begin to tell you where this year has gone! I’m no where near ready for her to be one already – I’m tearing up just typing this!!

  6. My daughter is 18 and heading to college in a few weeks. She took the first semester off as a friend she graduated with was killed in August and sent my little girl into a tailspin. That tragedy made me realize how every single day with your child is a gift, even the days of fighting and yelling, at the end of the day, she is still my little girl. I am terrified at the thought of letting her go out into the big, bad world, but am looking forward to watching her to continue to grow and mature into an adult. We have grown closer recently, and I value the friendship we are strengthening. She may be on the cusp of adulthood, but she still crawls onto my lap and cries after a bad day. That is a feeling I never could have imagined. And it’s amazing.

  7. I know what you mean. Phoenix turns 4 tomorrow, and it’s just so hard to believe. I just want them to stay little forever… which doesn’t seem to be working. The least we can do is just enjoy the time with them whenever we can! :)

  8. I enjoyed this post very much.

  9. I try to enjoy every moment of my kids. Mine are growing up too quickly also.

  10. that’s exactly how i felt with both my boys. i felt like i wanted to go back in time, i wanted so desperately to do it all over again. because no matter how much you tell yourself to enjoy these moments and stare at them sleeping a little bit longer, life gets in the way. you find yourself wishing them to sleep, wishing they could just walk, etc. i think it only happens faster the more we have, each subsequent child’s infancy speeding by faster than the one before. it’s really hard to make the transition from baby-making to human-rearing. happy december to you and may all the birthdays you celebrate be wonderful.

  11. Sigh….i feel your pain. I too am a December baby with a December baby….at times it felt like I was beating my head against a brick wall, but mostly it was amazing. His laughter and quick wit have kept me entertained for the last *gasp* eighteen years. (shhhhh don’t tell him I told you his age…he’s to leave me to my delusions that he’s still a little boy) I wouldn’t trade him for the world. Congrats on her first year.

  12. I feel the same about the snow glove. And my first baby just turned 18. I often tell him when he’s in trouble, I still see sweet baby Christopher in his big brown eyes. Even saying that gets me. Time with our little ones seems to go by much quicker than any other time. :(

  13. Crissy, No you aren’t crazy. You’re a mother, which means deep inside you know one day you will have to let her go out into this sometimes frightening world. I have 3 daughters, all grown now. It feels like the years went by too fast for me to grasp. I wanted to hold onto every laugh, every hug. But life gets so busy with just trying to make it all work out that I feel I missed so much. Now when I think back my regrets are that sometimes I was more focused on keeping the bills paid or the house clean. If I had it all to do over I would choose to do less of those things and more playing and making memories with my girls. Those bumps and bruises I comforted when they were small were nothing compared to the trials and heartaches of life I”ve watched them go through as adult women. My oldest has been seriously ill since she was 4. I can’t make her take better care of herself now. I can’t get her out of the terrible relationship she’s determined to make work out. My middle daughter has an addiction to narcotics and heath problems that add to her physical and mental pain. She got out of an abusive marriage and is now dealing with her son’s anger and abuse. My youngest lives 100 miles away in a big city where people get shot on the street everyday, still in college, works 2 or 3 jobs, luckily she’s in a positive relationship with a wonderful young man. And here I am, with all these memories, my arms aching to hold my babies again, to protect them from the crazy world. All I can do now is listen and just be there…..Such is the circle of life. Our world needs more mothers like you, who appreciate the importance of our role in our children’s lives. Play and have lots of fun with your little angel.

  14. The war on colic lost us a few months too! Some days felt so long, but the one-year mark seemed to sneak up on us! Can’t believe it’s already been a year for your little cutie – I feel like you just posted her newborn pics!

  15. Wow. Almost 1 year already. Time does fly. It doesn’t get any easier either. My daughter is 5 and I sit for hours watching old videos of her from when she was younger. I still carry her when I can and love on her every second of the day. Why do they grow so fast. I loved reading this post and totally related to it 110%.

  16. My son is going to turn 17 in February and it’s like yesterday that he was just turning 1. You are not crazy for these feelings you’re a mother. They will always be 1 even when they are going off to college or to get married. Enjoy every moment because they only happen once. Happy Birthday and Happy Holidays!

  17. Love this post!! My little girl is 15 months and the day before she turned one I cried and cried. It was happy tears and sad years! Stay strong momma.. It’s a beautiful ride.

  18. Watching each of my girls turn one was hugely emotional to me. Really crazy. Enjoy the birthday week!

  19. Thanks for getting Edge of Seventeen firmly stuck in my head now :)

    I know exactly how you feel about Kara turning one, Kaitlyn just turned seven! I feel like I blinked and she became this GIRL, with long legs and opinions and everything.

  20. You have a beautiful little girl and this is a beautiful post! It’s true…it goes by so fast. My daughter is 16 and I can hardly believe it.

  21. You are a lucky lady to have such a sweet little pumpkin!

  22. Enjoy every.single.precious.moment. One day you will wake up and your baby will be grown. As much as the first birthday is heart wrenching, it is even more heart wrenching when your daughter announces she is accepted to a college, hours away from home. Oh the bittersweetness of being a mother.

  23. I like how you liken your world to a snow globe. I feel the same when there are times I would remember feeling the exact same feeling when they were still so little. Beautiful part of a birthday post!

  24. OH Crissy, I wish I could tell you it isn’t so, but it is SO just like this! Like putting your darling little one on a colorful and crazy carousel and when the spinning is done, you go to reach for her and she is all grown up. It feels like minutes instead of years…

    I have had some of the same situations in my years, with a colicy baby, sleepness nights, post partum blues that clouded some of the days I will never really know again, the spin of working and mothering and the guilties I fought and won, and now health issues. I learned in the past to GRAB hold but not too tight that they can’t grow into who they were destined to be. And sometimes get ON that carousel with them, no matter how dizzying it is, it is a crAzyWONderful ride after all!

    Your kids are beautiful and that is God’s hand, (IMO) but they are sweet and smart and that is a credit to your mothering. So be proud as she grows. You are her difference and in the early years, her definition. And after having a couple girls too timid to face many things, be happy she has a little spunk and sass….for in a girl’s world they need it later.

    Enjoy ALL of your birthdays coming up. How WONDERFUL life is, when you’re in the world! (Elton John)

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