You were born and I was a mother.
I didn’t fully understand that I had been a mom since the moment I saw two pink lines,
that I was being handed 6 pounds 14 ounces of the most fierce kind of love.
I didn’t know breathing you in would soften the blow of 2 am feedings and 5 am mornings,
that your gummy smile would cure a million hurts.
And no one could explain the hum of bedtime stories and the clink of tiny snaps in the dryer,
that giggles have their own color, their own shape.
I didn’t realize how many times I would re-stack a book shelf and cube cheese and cut off sandwich crusts,
that I probably still do it in my sleep when you dream of a good book or midnight snack.
I had no idea I would miss lugging you around on my hip and pushing a swing ten thousand times,
that I would cling onto any hint of the year before as it became the one after.
No one told me you’d grow out of squeeze-hugs and some days I’d wonder if I could fold myself into your backpack,
that watching you do things on your own could be more difficult than the days of doing everything for you.
I couldn’t have imagined standing eye-to-eye or needing you to explain SnapChat and how to hold a Wii remote,
that you’d teach me so much just by being.
And I never could have comprehended how much you would change and how much you would stay exactly the same,
how much yesterday looked just like today until you turned around and it wasn’t anymore.
Your birthdays have tumbled into the next and must have gained momentum along the way because here I am saying goodbye to your childhood and wondering how no one could have told me it would all go by this fast.
Happy 20th birthday Ashlyn, you are so loved.
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