Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Double Digits

Doodle turns 10 at 9:45 or so tonight (or, as she pointed out, 9:45 this morning since she was born in China)*. Ten appears to be one of those milestone birthdays, and I find myself spending a lot of time today thinking about both the past and the future. My kids' birthday are always a bit bittersweet because I think about their birth parents and all that they've lost. This milestone birthday seems to have made me particularly wistful.

I so clearly remember Doodle's first birthday that it seems like it was only yesterday. She couldn't walk yet (that came almost two months later) and she moved around best in backward crawl mode. She looked adorable--curly hair, chubby cheeks, and a cute one piece white sailor suit--as she demolished her first piece of cake. It was also her first and last adult oriented party: a dinner party where the only other kids were 2, 7, and 9. We had been mother and daughter for four months. I felt so blessed.

The last 9 years seem to have passed in the blink of an eye. My gorgeous baby has turned into a beautiful young lady. I so admire her selflessness, her people skills, her musicality, her resourcefulness, and her sense of humor. Lately her bedtime has been creeping toward 10 p.m. partly because I enjoy spending one-on-one time with her so much that I don't push her too hard to go to bed. It's hard to squeeze in time for games or significant talks with homework, soccer practice, piano lessons, flute practice, Girl Scouts, playdates, etc. so Doodle adapts by getting a bit less sleep. This is something she has been doing all her life: when I went back to work shortly before she turned 1, she willed herself to stay awake an hour later at night so that we could have more time together. And so it continues.

In 9 more years Doodle will celebrate her first birthday away from home as she finishes up her freshman year of college. I hope that time slows a bit in those 9 years. Or maybe not: I'm probably going to want the teen years to be over quickly.

* She was found with a note on a red envelope that provided the date and time of her birth.

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