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Tomorrow is my daughter's 21st birthday... that statement makes me want to cry in so many ways. She is my baby - the youngest of 3 children - and although nothing really changes tomorrow, it's the reality that all of my kids are grown now that takes my breath away. Even as a small child when someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was consistently "a mother." Many people would say "of course you'll be a mother one day... but what do you want to BE." Like being a Mother wasn't a good enough job in and of itself. But my dream came true - 3 times over. And after two beautiful little boys, I had a little girl who stole my heart and has continued to carry it with her since many moments before she was ever even born. But don't misunderstand and think that I'm sitting back with my feet kicked up and saying it has all been easy -- far from it! There have been mistakes, hurts, disappointments, arguments, attitudes, spankings, tears, laughs, secrets... the list is endless! But most of all there has been so much love - and so many lessons learned.
Being a Mom taught me just how small I really am in this world. There is no room for selfishness in being a parent. You have to learn very quickly that the world doesn't revolve around you... and the best parents also teach their kids that the world doesn't revolve around them either. It's just not great to think that everything will go your way all the time, or that there aren't sacrifices in life. Having children requires a lot of sacrifice - and the sacrifice has been something I've been glad to give in order to have the awesome opportunity to hold this little life that God chose ME to carry into the world. I've never understood these people who have children and then use them as leverage to get what they want - often from their own parents! Is this something one of them was taught growing up - and if so, I wonder how it really made them feel when they were the child. My Mom and I have not always agreed on everything, and there have even been those difficult times when I was really upset with her - or she with me - and we weren't in a hurry to spend time with one another. But that never affected her seeing or being able to see my children. My kids learned very early on that they could trust completely in some people (especially their Grandmother) - and that is a crucial lesson for kids to learn. What message is it giving them to then keep them from someone as if they are not safe? Things like this really are upsetting. One day I will be a grandmother...some little person will come into this world who will share a part of me in one of my own kids, and I cannot even begin to imagine how much I will love them. I pray that I have taught my kids how to love completely by the love that I've given them love. And I hope my kids never see their children as a way to punish or reward me -- but rather that they love their kids enough they would never want to do anything to teach them mistrust.
But for today I will feel nostalgic... thinking back to the moments before the great day of my daughter's birth. Remembering the anticipation, love and fear... and not wanting to trade the moment for any other time in the world. I celebrate her life and all she is to me. And I know a secret that many parents learn... when you have a child, a piece of your heart is broken off and they carry it through their life. They never belong to you, as a possession - they are only a gift from God to take care of and do the very best for. But take care of them as you would your own heart - love them with all you have inside of you. No matter what, you can never love them too much!
To my babygirl -- happy day before your birthday, sweet girl. There truly are not words to say how much I love you, and how I celebrate that you were put in my life. I could not be prouder of who you are, and will be forever grateful that you call me Mom.