Twelve years ago The Young Lady hollered her way into the world, and stayed angry until we left the hospital, when thankfully, she settled into the contentment of home and quieted down.
At last, after a string of boys, we had someone to wear the smocked dresses, lacy socks and Mary Jane shoes we dreamed of, and an excuse to buy Madeline dolls. We had a good reason to have a tea party at The American Girl store and buy Angelina Ballerina and all her friends, books, clothes and fully furnished house so we could play with it.
There have been rough patches, like the Stuffed Animal Stand Off of '99, and the Pikachu Halloween costume that caused me to take Deep Breaths at the kitchen sink when The Young Lady decided to forego the new costume I made her so she could squeeze into the Pikachu costume from the year before. "It's her Halloween", I told myself while breathing deeply.
If anything, she has taught me to choose my battles wisely, expect the unexpected and respect her individuality. She has opened my eyes with her fresh perspective, and I am inspired by her capacity for forgiveness and compassion.
Without a doubt, the years ahead will bring a new set of challenges and worries, but I also know that there will be even more causes for celebrating and while I will always be her mother, one day many years from now, I hope she will want to be my friend.