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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dear Kate, Part One

Dear Kate,

In two weeks,
you will be thirteen years old.

A teenager!

Being our first child,
the first grandchild for all the grandparents,
the first niece or nephew for any of the aunts and uncles,
you break these barriers for us all.

I recognize that this isn't an easy position
to be put in.
More than any of the other subsequent children or grandchildren,
you are analyzed, critiqued and watched.
You were also, however, the most applauded
and the greatest center of attention.

You are a powerful and headstrong force.

This should come as no surprise, however.

You see,
years ago your mom and dad went to Duke University,
where your mom had some tests run.
This doctor at Duke told your mom and dad
that they "had a snowball's chance in hell"
of conceiving a child naturally.

About two months later,
I was pregnant with you.

You see, this doctor had no idea who he was speaking to.

I don't like limits,
don't like being told what to do
and the more I perceive those limits,
the harder I am going to buck and fight
to get those shackles off.

You, my dear daughter,
carry that trait in spades.
A doormat you are not,
nor will you ever be, God willing.

Together we have found our way
from a long and extended labor that ended in an emergency c-section,
to an infancy I wasn't sure either of us would survive,
to a gregarious, cheerful and imaginative toddler.

You've survived numerous moves
from house to house
and school to school.

You've survived your parents'
uninformed and often bungled attempts
at parenting
with a fair amount of humor
and a great latitude for error.

You are a generous and kind big sister
to brothers who are so close that you are often left out.

Yes, the last twelve years have been an adventure.

And now, to think what is to come in the next twelve!

High school,
first love,
choosing a major and a direction for your life.

Then, after that, it is anyone's guess.

Maybe you will be a teacher, or a social worker,
or a lawyer.
Maybe you will be involved in adoptive services.
Maybe you will adopt children or get married.

Maybe not.

Your future is bright and wide open.

I can hardly wait to see what you do.



Kate said...

From Kate, First am I really that bad? Second that is so so so sweet. Last you are right your way of parenting is unique ,but I love you anyway. From Kate

Richard Lewis said...

That was beautiful. You and Rob have been exceptional parents – at least when seen from my perch. And you have the unique talent of being able to reflect on the past and imagine the future while still being firmly rooted in the present. Those words will be cherished by the preceding writer in years' time.

Anonymous said...

Boy, did that ever get me. Tears streaming down the face...I remember all of it and cannot believe Kate, my granddaughter, will be 13 years old soon. You described it beautifully and definitely tugged at the heart strings. May you have this much clarity in the teen-age years...You'll need it!! Seems as though it was just yesterday when I was rocking her in the hospital the day she was born. Time REALLY flies when you are a grandmother!!
A wonderful overview Leeann.