Carroll County Times
Carroll County

You are growing up so fast: A letter to my pre-teen daughter


As I write this column, it's been three days since we celebrated your 11th birthday; 11 years already, I can't believe time has gone by so fast. It seems like it was just yesterday when you were a baby and I was holding you in my arms. Now, you are officially a pre-teen and you are ready for a new chapter in your life: middle school. You are leaving the elementary years behind to embark in a new adventure.

I remember it was a Saturday, when I could feel you were coming; slowly, but you were coming. In fact, you wanted to come into this world a lot earlier. So early, that I had to rest and take some medications to prevent you from coming out too soon. I guess you were just too excited to meet us and just couldn't wait. After months and months of waiting for the right time to let you come out, you were finally ready. It was Memorial Day. I was hoping you were ready that day because my doctor was leaving on vacation and I didn't want any other doctor to be there with me in that special moment. We were really looking forward to finally meet you, as you were coming after I'd lost a previous pregnancy. It was important for me to have the doctor who I already knew well to help me through that moment.

I was so nervous — but so excited at the same time — that I decided to go to the hospital a little too soon. I could've waited a little longer at home, but I didn't want anything to go wrong. As soon as I felt the first contraction, I wanted to go to the hospital. I knew it would probably be long hours before you were ready to come out, but I just wanted to be there just in case. I remember I called the doctor and told him not to leave on vacation just yet because you were coming. I told him "You can go straight from the hospital to the airport if you want, but do not leave before this baby comes out. I don't want any other doctor to be there but you!" In fact, that's exactly what happened: he was there for your birth, but because it took a little bit longer than expected, he actually had to go straight to the airport.

After hours of painful contractions and me trying to manage the pain with breathing exercises — because I didn't want any pain medication, I didn't want any drugs in my body while you were there — the moment was here, you were ready to come out. It was a somewhat painful birth — you were a big baby — and at some point I cried out in pain, but I was so looking forward to finally see you, that even with the pain, I put all my effort to bring you out. And there you were, finally out.

I couldn't help but cry when I first saw you, but this time I was crying out of happiness. I couldn't believe my eyes, you were so beautiful, and you were finally here. I sent your father to check on you while the nurses worked on you. I remember the nurses were amazed because when they first tried to touch you, you actually slapped their hands, like defending yourself, like saying "Do not touch me, leave me alone." One of the nurses said, "You have a strong baby there, get ready," and we all laughed.

When you were finally in my arms, I stared at you and it felt like time had stopped, like we were the only ones in the room. As I was looking at you, much to my surprise, you opened your eyes. And we finally said hello to each other. Even the nurses were surprised that you opened your eyes so soon — most babies don't until after a couple days.

Every year, as you grow up and I look at you, I can still picture that moment. That moment when you opened your eyes to look at me for the first time and I saw your eyes for the first time; that moment when we first touched each other. I can still picture your beautiful eyes, your little hands, your hair … and I can't believe how fast you have grown up. It's been eleven years already, but to me it looks like just yesterday when you first opened your eyes. Even though you are not a baby anymore and you are officially a pre-teen now, I still look at you and see that baby.

You are leaving the baby behind, every time more. You are starting to question things around you and not settle for simple explanations. You are excited to learn new things and want to become more independent. You are a safety patrol at your school and you take your responsibility seriously. You are proud to take on a commitment and always do your best. It only shows that you are ready for your next stage in you life, even if I am not.

You just had your last elementary school play day, and as I saw you playing, enjoying the day and walking around with your friends, I couldn't believe this was your last elementary school year. Soon, you will have your fifth grade graduation and I know that, even though it is exciting to see you growing up, it will ache to see the baby gone. Time definitely flies, and babies grow up too fast.

I understand you are no longer a baby. You will continue to grow up, become a teenager, later a young adult, and it is a process that I can't just stop. But one thing I know for sure: every time I look at you, I will always see that baby who opened her eyes for the first time. You will always be my baby.