Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Mary!

Writing about Mary is much harder than writing about my other kids because she is my only kid who actually reads my blog.  Knowing that Mary will read this puts much more pressure on me to make sure I say all the right things and, more importantly, that I don’t say the wrong things.  Because trust me, I will hear from her on this!

Where to begin? 

I guess the beginning is a good place to start . . .

Mary has been an easy kid from the get go.  I was in labor for maybe four hours (induced and epidural in place) and I think I got her out in about 2 pushes.  I quite literally could have walked out of the hospital hours after giving birth to her because she was such an easy delivery.

In line with her easy entrance into this world, Mary has always had an easy going and HAPPY personality.

The thing I remember most about Mary when she was little is that she talked ... a lot!  Keep in mind that her sister didn't talk at all, so what was typical for most kids seemed liked a big deal to us because we only had Hilary to compare her to.  Mary was constantly chattering and constantly in motion.  My Aunt used to call Mary "Tigger" because she bounced everywhere she went.  My Aunt had been watching Hilary for me and she agreed to watch Mary too. However, that didn't last long because it became apparent early on that Mary is a very social kid and she needed to be around other kids.  We put her in a church daycare/preschool when she was two and she loved it. To this day, Mary is my social kid - she enjoys (and needs) the companionship of many friends. 

Mary will tell you that one of the worst events of her life was her parents decision to move from St. Louis back to Phoenix.  We lived in a great neighborhood in St. Louis where all the kids were about the same age and they played together all the time.  I will admit that St. Louis was a much friendlier place to raise kids than Phoenix is. It was so hard for Mary to leave behind her friends when we moved, especially her best friend Rebecca.  

Mary has always been comfortable with Jack and all his equipment and she jumped right in to fill her role as the big sister.

Mary has a heart of gold and doesn't have a mean bone in her body.  She once told me that she doesn't know how to respond to her cousins when they are sarcastic because to her sarcasm sounds mean and she doesn't know how to be mean (sarcastic) back. 

Mary's caring heart and experience with Jack has given her a unique insight and maturity for someone her age and this is reflected in her compassion for other children with special needs. Mary always accompanied me to the trach conferences where she immediately bonded with the kids and came away from every conference with new best friends.  

Mary is intelligent, patient, slow to anger, forgives easily, refuses to gossip, is kind, is compassionate, is a loyal friend,  is selfless, is generous, is carefree, lives in the moment and is just an all around good kid and a joy to have around. I am so incredibly blessed to have this child in my life.  She and I definitely clash at times because I want certainty and order and I need to have a plan in place, while Mary just goes with the flow and doesn't worry about what tomorrow may bring.  In thinking about her future and what she wants to do with her life, Mary is not driven by what will bring her the biggest paycheck or the most prestige. Mary is driven by her heart and what she believes will bring her a life of happiness.  

Mary hasn't had it easy being the middle child stuck between two siblings with special needs. She's always had to take a back seat to the needs of Hilary and the needs of Jack.  Mary's ability to get involved in extra-curricular activities has been restricted because of our inability to "get up and go" with Jack.  Mary also has two siblings who she doesn't really have a relationship with due to their inability to communicate with her.  Fortunately, Mary has Eric - who is mostly an annoyance right now, but hopefully when they are older they will have a close relationship.  Despite her less than typical childhood, Mary has her head on straight and she got there mostly on her own.  I am extremely proud of Mary and the person she is.  I know Mary is anxious to get out of the house and away from the stress that pervades a family caring for a medically fragile child.  I just hope that Mary doesn't fly too far and that that she knows we did the best we could, we love her and we will always be here for her.

Happy 18th Birthday Mary!

It seems like just yesterday you were my sweet little girl 

and now you're a beautiful young lady

You are on your way to accomplish great things ....




Anne said...

You have every reason to be so very proud of her. She is a special young woman who touched my heart the first time I met her. I wish her nothing but love and happiness on this her 18th birthday.

Christy said...

What a beautiful post! Happy Birthday, Mary! The world could afford to have a few more of you around!

worthy said...

Beautiful words Ann, you could have been describing my middle child, James, he's always been my easy kid (though the terrible 2's were very terrible I recall!).

Happy 18th Birthday Mary, may you find peace and joy in your life xxxx

Susan said...

Oh wow that was really beautiful Ann and made me tear up. 18, I just can't imagine, but from everything you say of her it's clear she is ready to find her place in the world as an adult. Happy Birthday Mary!

Anonymous said...

She is a beautiful girl both inside and out. xoxox

Rachel said...

Mary sounds like a wonderful daughter! Hope she had a very happy birthday.

CS said...

She's gorgeous, inside and out. What a special daughter. I hope year 18 is an awesome one for her.