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When time sprints: Looking back on 25 years of motherhood

August 20, 2013

AlexIsTurning25 B

It seems like just a few years ago that she lost her front teeth. I spent the 14th to 17th years frowning at the task of raising a strong-willed teenage daughter. I still haven’t created a photobook from her high school or college graduations. She’s getting married next year. It feels like yesterday, but time is a sprinter.

This week my first born, Alexandra, turns 25.  I am filled with gratitude at how blessed her father and I were to conceive a healthy child.  Every day has been a gift, one I never underestimated or took for granted. Motherhood remains the part of my life I am most proud. On this milestone of 9125 days I thought I would list 25 things I adore about my daughter.

  1. She was my recurring dream from the time I was nine years old. I knew a blonde haired blue eyed baby would arrive to this brown haired, brown eyed mother.
  2. Her name Alexandra Ivy connects her to family history. She’s named after her maternal great grandmother (Alexandra Landi Camuti) and paternal grandmother (Ivy Carpenter) consecutively. Although she likes to be called Allie, I only call her Alex.
  3. Her hazel eyes that were originally blue for a year. A baby’s eyes smiling at Mom is like a sunrise that’s always perfect.
  4. She said, “Mamma” at eight months, and “balloon” at nine and was reading flashcards before 18 months.
  5. She had a sleep song as a baby, humming through dreams.
  6. A Daddy’s girl to the core, life was all about her father, grandfather, great grandfather. She adores her bonus Dad, Rick, whom she calls Big Daddy.
  7. A true foodie, Alex is one of the only women I know who never makes me feel guilty about eating. Life is to be tasted.
  8. She knows how to hit the pause button and ask herself if she’s being true to herself: Is what I am doing now going to support my highest good? (Dang, I was in my 40’s before I could do that?) I applaud her for the fact that sometimes she realizes she needs to change in one area of her life and puts the work in to make it happen.
  9. She’s a strong hugger.
  10. She appreciates my philosophy of keeping a home organized and clean.
  11. She went to my alma mater and won a communication award named after my college mentor. Mamma Proud.
  12. She is a travel bug. In the second grade she read an American Girl book series about a girl named Felicity and convinced us that we should spend Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg. She wrote letters to Santa telling him to meet us there and not forget her little sister Helen. While Colonial Williamsburg is an empty nester’s vacation spot during the holidays we had a blast sharing our trip with all the couples who wished they were grandparents already. I predict that Alex will have more luggage than designer handbags throughout her life.  Passports are meant to be worn out.
  13. She is elegant, dignified, refined and carries herself well in any social situation.
  14. She loves cats. Dogs are cool, too.
  15. She is a self proclaimed geek and admits it. If there is a new game to play, a gadget to be tested, or a social media platform to chat on, she’s on it. Alex owned her first computer – a little toy number that looked like an original Mac – at the age of one. The “puter” was as important as her favorite doll Cindy Lou.
  16. I love the way her hands float when she has a fresh manicure.
  17. She is the most amazing writer. Breathtaking really. She has the well-written ability to reawaken your senses with her words. She’ll make you think about your own perspective on the world. I always say that if I need a tough editor to beat up my work I will turn to Alex first.
  18. Her sense of humor has the uncanny ability to make me big-belly laugh at the most inappropriate time. One time on a ski trip we stopped at a diner for breakfast where the waitress made a big fuss over the fact that the head chef made his own butter. Still today, she can tear us up by pitching a gravely voice saying, “We make our own butta.”
  19. She is BFFs with her sister Helen. Sometimes they just need to climb under comfy blankets and talk all night.
  20. Although she doesn’t give herself enough credit, Alexandra is a fantastic artist. I framed the poetry she wrote in the fourth grade, hoarded the pottery she fired in high school, sometimes download her photos from Facebook.
  21. She took her first college course in the tenth grade.
  22. She is constantly challenging herself to learn something new. Whether it’s personal training, creating vegan smoothies, tackling marketing budgets, challenging her fingers on a guitar or simply learning to appreciate the value of down time, my daughter is constantly blossoming in a way that surprises me.
  23. She has faith in God even though she hasn’t always embraced the Catholic church. She has always challenged her faith in practice, even to the point of participating in other churches. I want my children to have faith in their life, even if they find it elsewhere.
  24. Alexandra has the gift of being a true communicator. She knows the value of staying connected to family and friends. Sometimes you have to stop what you’re doing and show up for others, even if it’s inconvenient. I never have to explain this to her.
  25. She has found the man she wants to build a life with and is working to ensure that the foundation is strong. She looks so beautiful and radiant in love. The warmth on her face. The concern she has for her sweetheart. I love the way she teases with him and he teases her right back. They laugh a lot together.  There is a love-fueled energy about them. They spark when they’re about to go on an adventure, big or small. They talk things out privately. She openly discusses being respectful to his feelings. I dig that, big time. She insists on couple time and electronics-down time. I applaud her and her future husband for making these points a priority in their life. In them I can see tomorrow.

I am continually made breathless by your strength and inner beauty.  As much as a parent tries to teach their children, I am always surprised and thankful at how much I learn from you.  Happy Birthday, my Alex. I am honored to be your mother.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Larry Wall permalink
    August 20, 2013 8:19 pm

    It takes a remarkable parent to have a “greater than arms length” perspective on one’s own children. And Mary, you are a remarkable parent. Alex has obviously inherited all of your best traits, and it’s no wonder she has become the woman that she is.

    • August 21, 2013 9:00 pm

      Larry, You are wonderful. Thank you so much. My children continue to surprise me with their beauty. When I talk to families now about preserving their legacy I sometimes discuss the up-and-down legacy, an ethical will you either hand up to a parent or down to a child (or across to a sibling, cousins or friends). People are so surprised that this is possible before the twilight years.

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