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Every morning this week, my youngest daughter Mya has been waking  up and hugging me even harder than usual.

“Mommy, I’m one day closer to turning eight!”

Her smile is so big and her green eyes sparkle. I want to cry.

When did her feet become almost as big as mine? When did she learn how to brush her own hair and pour her own glass of milk?

Mya will turn 8 this Sunday. Friday night is her big bowling party. I gave in...I gave in to the madness of kids running with large, heavy bowling balls in their hands. Kids sliding down the alley with reckless abandon and squirting juice boxes on their once clean clothing. I gave in because this madness is what makes her smile...and me, too.

Mya was born on September 28, 2000. My marriage was ending and I snuggled with her in my hospital bed...this little angel with velvet skin was going to find out all too soon that life after divorce isn’t always easy.

What a phenomenal baby she was...as if she knew that I was balancing life on my own just a few months after she was born. Not only her life, but the lives of her two brothers (then 2 and 4) and her big sisters (then 16 and 17). Mya slept, ate, smiled and snuggled through it all.

Today, Mya is a freckled faced cutie. A outspoken green-eyed beauty. One strong-willed, funny, compassionate and loving little woman.  

She writes “I Love Mommy” on almost every piece of paper. We touch noses like Eskimos. We get our nails done and shop like girlies. I pretend to be afraid when she digs up worms with her brother, Maxx. She is the finder of all lost objects in our house. Mya doesn’t know what “mean” is...her attempts at being crabby are limited to, “FINE, I’m going to my room” before anyone even asks her to.

She doesn’t know the makings of a traditional family like I grew up with. Sure, she sees her father every other weekend, but he doesn’t even know what grade she is in...she had to tell him. She just rolls her eyes and says, “Mom, that’s OK, Dad is just not that kind of Dad.”

She wants me to have Prince Charming. She loves romance and happy endings. She knows that I’ve never been charmed enough to have anyone share my life with me and my children. Well, until recently...and she’s just as smitten as I am.

So, Friday night will be all about Mya. She will unwrap gifts from friends who adore her. She’ll bowl like a crazy woman. She’ll dance around to the music...because it’s not just bowling...it’s ROCK & BOWL. Lights flashing, music blasting and kids running wild. We’ll share the cake that we will make together tonight. She’ll blow out candles and make a wish.

The past eight years...wow, how they flew by...and how I look forward to watching Mya grow into this fantastic young lady. Hopefully not too fast. I’m enjoying the little freckled girl so much that I’d like life to just slow down a little. I asked her not too long ago if she could just stop growing for awhile....she’s so matter of fact with her responses to everything:

“Mommy, it’s just going to happen. You‘re going to wake up one day and I’m going to be a grown-up. Nothing I can do about that!”

I know...this is why I cherish all of these moments...loud bowling parties and all.

Happy Birthday weekend to my youngest, sweetest, most lovable little Mya Papaya.



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