Twenty-nine years ago today I wasn't feeling too well. I was in labor.
I was only a baby myself, just three weeks away from my 20th birthday. And back in those days, there was no internet or "Baby Story" on TV to give you a glimpse of what was to come. All I had was a copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and my mother's advice. I felt so unprepared. I remember thinking all of a sudden that day, 'how are they going to get this baby out of me?' I was scared!
I was lucky enough to not know how far along my labor had progressed while I was at my mother's house all day. If I had, I probably would have panicked. When the contractions were timeable, my mom called my husband at work and he came to take me to the hospital. Without any drugs whatsoever, about an hour and a half later, she was born.
I had a little girl, and we named her Ashley. And life since that moment was forever changed.
Raising her wasn't always easy. Her father was an absent parent by the time she was 3. I look back on those days and wonder how I did it. I also look back now and wonder if I appreciated it enough. It went by so fast.
I had such high hopes for my daughter. I think most parents want their child to do better than they did. I wanted to encourage her in a way that I never was to do well in school and to understand that her education would continue after high school. I didn't want her to feel that limits were being put on her just because the budget was tight.
I wanted her to be confident and secure and to have the ability to make friends easily. I wanted her to need me but learn to become independent too. I didn't want her to feel that she had missed out on anything. Mainly, I wanted her to be happy.
No doubt, I made some mistakes along the way. But somehow, there was always a level of respect there that we had for each other that kept our relationship healthy and balanced.
And she has grown up to be just as I imagined - a beautiful, well adjusted and mature young woman (who still loves Hello Kitty). And we are the best of friends.
So, happy birthday to my girl tomorrow. We will be spending the day together doing girly stuff. And maybe one day soon, our outings will include a third generation.
I don't think I could have imagined it all those years ago.