birthday, just a little longer, 12th birthday, love letter to my daughter

Just a little longer A Love Letter to My Daughter on Her 12th Birthday

by Deborah Cruz

She runs up to me and holds my face in her tiny hands, “Mama, I love you foreber and eber. Ok?” Gabs posed everything in question form as a toddler. Still, my heart knew what she meant. She was going to love me as long as I was going to love her. This is our legacy, to love just a little longer.

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Since she was born, my personality doppelganger, she simultaneously pushed me away as she pulled me near. I got it. I get it. I am her and she is me. We are the same in so many ways. When she was tiny, so tiny, she wouldn’t let anyone else hold her (except for the Big Guy but still, she preferred me over all else and I loved it.) Everyone else hated it but, secretly, I loved that I was the one she always wanted and I happily obliged. How many evenings did we spend, just the two of us, feeding and her falling asleep in my arms? I could have stayed there in those quiet moments, just the two of us, forever.

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But children are like trees, they plant roots but they just keep on growing and evolving; more beautiful and more majestic with each passing year. How I love to watch them grow. It is my greatest pleasure and biggest honor. That’s what being a mom is… letting go and being thankful for the opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourself. They are my legacy.

Still, as I watch my newly/nearly/almost 12-year-old, my heart still pulls toward her and wants to caress her face softly and check that she is breathing, just like I did on all those nights while I watched her sleep as a newborn. I may have even woken her up a few times, just to be able to hold her for just a little longer.

She is growing up to be such an amazing young woman. She is strong, independent, fierce and not fearless but brave. She is scared of a lot of things; mostly big things like death and life and endings and beginnings. She is wise beyond her years.  She has the wisdom of a scholar and a heart that loves with no boundaries. I am fascinated by who she is becoming.

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She is me and I am her but she is so much better than I could have ever have hoped to be. My Gabs is truly a gift to all who know her. She’s effortlessly witty and funny; charming in her own special way.  I only wish that she knew how genuine and one of a kind she is. I watch her from a close distance because she is not the child who wants me to do everything for her. She wants to do everything herself.

Learning from mistakes is where she thrives. Even though I hate to watch her stumble as she grows, her independence only allows me to help her up after she falls. That is the beauty in her. She never gives up. Once she decides what she wants the only thing that can stop her is her and I admire her for that. Her spirit is like an eagle taking flight and I love this kid more than words can adequately convey. I hope she always knows how proud and honored I feel to be her mother.

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Gabs,

 

12-years ago tonight, I held you on my chest for the first time ever. Meeting you will always be one of the most profound moments of my life. I have and will always love you more than everything. You make me proud every single day of your life. Don’t grow up too fast. I want to hold you in my heart and be your favorite person just a little longer. Keep being yourself and making your videos and cracking your jokes. Keep saying what’s on your mind. Never stop dressing and dancing they way you want. You are amazing. You’ll always be my love and my life, sweet girl. I’m going to love you forever and ever, ok?

 

Love,

Mama

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