Monday, December 3, 2012



It's a number that has always frightened me. Not because I'm superstitious or anything, but because it is the dawning of the teenage years, and I've always been certain I would not be ready for what lies ahead. And because I remember my siblings and I being pretty tough on my parents, I thought I would surely hate being the mother of a teenager.

But this teenager happens to be pretty incredible.

And I happen to love her so much my heart just about bursts every time I think about her.

It's still so hard to believe that my sweet little Hallee is already 13 years old. To say it has flown by would be an understatement. But then, I always knew it would. And I'm also fully aware that the next five years will disappear faster than I would ever want them to, and so, my goodness, I sure have to be in the moment today, to love her and soak her up every minute I can.

Hallee was born the day after Thanksgiving. I was pretty sure I was getting close to delivering my baby when Thanksgiving rolled around; however, all the more experienced women in my life told me not to get my hopes up--that it was far more likely I would be overdue than deliver early (my due date was December 5). I was sure they were right, so even though I had been having contractions all night long, I got up early and braved the Black Friday sales with my husband and mother. It was when I was in a very long line at Shopko that I realized my contractions were less than five minutes apart and steadily getting closer. I did the only thing I could think of under the circumstances--I handed my mother my items and left her in line while Dan ran me up the street to the hospital. Hallee was born several hours later. It was one of the most beautiful, sacred, and wonderful days of my life. I was finally a mother.

To be honest, I had no idea what to do next. Getting married and becoming pregnant hadn't been too difficult, but now what? This beautiful baby girl was completely dependent on me, and I felt clueless. All the hours of babysitting I'd done in my life suddenly seemed to mock me, as if to say, "Did you really think taking care of other people's children for specified amounts of time would prepare you for full-time motherhood? I don't think so!"

Regardless of my inadequacies and fears, I soon realized, that although my skills were not yet developed and honed, the most important thing of all came completely without effort--undeniable, unfiltered, unconditional love. Man, I loved this child! I was worried I would never be able to love another child as much (which thankfully wasn't true, of course).

Best Christmas ever--a brand new baby.

Dan and I were sure we had never seen such a beautiful child.
Since that day, Hallee has only continued to bless my life. Being the first child, she has patiently tutored me through all the firsts in parenthood (and there are tons more to go, poor girl!). She has forgiven me time and time again; she has loved me when I have been so unlovable; she has been my friend when it felt no one else was; she has been a wonderful daughter.

And so, although the teenage years still make my heart race a little, I am to the point of recognizing they can be some of the best years ever. I'm looking forward to the journey ahead, anticipating there will be bumps in the road, but knowing this girl can do anything she sets her mind to and that she has great things ahead.

Happy 13th Birthday, Hallee!!

Her lame mother forgot to buy candles so there weren't enough to put on her cake. Thankfully, this child doesn't get caught up in the details and easily forgave me. Next year, I will be ready with 14 candles, however.

Dan's father, Reed, drove all the way up from Logan to take Hallee to dinner. She chose Subway (so easy to please, I love it). I thought that was so thoughtful of him.