The Sweetest 16th Birthday
Celebrating a bittersweet milestone
Sixteen years ago today, I went into labor while sitting in church. Once those familiar labor pains started, I knew a few things for a fact:
- I was going to have my first daughter (if the sonogram pictures were accurate).
- I was going to have my only daughter, since we had decided she would be our third and final child.
- Her name would be Katie.
- I would finally get to shop for pink baby clothes.
What I didn't know but would learn over the course of the next 16 years has been life-changing.
- I didn't know the princess stage would fly by so quickly and she would be done with those dresses by age 6.
- I didn't know whether we would let her start kindergarten or put her in a third year of preschool since her Oct. 7 birthday would qualify her to start kindergarten at age 4 (the cut-off date used to be Oct. 16 in Wake County; we ended up waiting and letting her start at age 5 — best decision we ever made).
- I didn't know she was going to be my strongest math kid.
- I didn't know she would blossom into an elite indoor and beach volleyball athlete, an experience that would cost us thousands of dollars, send us to states and beaches around the country and, at times, break her heart but also strengthen her resolve and tenacity.
- I didn't know she would pull me back into the emotions of the teenage girl's mind. We have laughed and cried together.
- I didn't know losing her first pet would send her into a depression she is just now recovering from.
- I didn't know she would meet an awesome guy the summer before her sophomore year who would treat her better than any sophomore teen boy should be expected to at such a young age.
Today, Oct. 7, 2016, is my youngest and only daughter's 16th birthday. It will be sweet, filled with surprises and celebrated by her family and closest friends in ways we will always cherish and remember. It's a milestone and turning point that is bittersweet, but inspiring.
Happy Birthday my dear daughter. You are loved more than you will ever know.