". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Caitlin

Last week I wrote about the day my first baby was born. Twelve years ago today I took my inaugural look at number two.

Although it was almost two weeks past her due date, she was in no hurry to make her entrance into the world, having apparently grown fond of the ready food supply and warmth of her Mommy's tummy. But that Mommy was not so patient, nor was her doctor, who had concerns about the continued growth of an already good-sized baby.

So on a mild Wednesday evening in mid-October of 1995, my husband and I climbed into our little blue Honda Civic, waved at the soon-to-be big brother and his grandma standing in the front door of our house, and reported to the hospital for an induction. Labor set in and quickly progressed, making for a long and sleepless night (for some of us at least--I have a feeling our evening arrival at the hospital was designed to give the doctor a good night's sleep and a convenient morning delivery). Then at 6:33 a.m. on October 12, 1995, I was handed what would turn out to be my biggest baby, weighing in just short of 10 pounds at 9 pounds, 12 ounces.

We named her Caitlin Marie. I must admit a touch of surprise when I first beheld my baby girl. She had so much hair! And how dark it was! Soon that straight, almost black hair would turn in to strawberry-blonde curls that would remain for many years, until the sheer length and weight of them finally gave way to waves.

Sandwiched between one big and one little brother, Caitlin is not only the middle child but is also my only girl. Perhaps, then, that is why when I look at her I see so much of myself. Indeed, we have much in common, sharing not only physical attributes but also our love for literature, music, and writing. We are also both known in our household for being just a tiny bit emotional and prone to tears, but hey, what else is to be expected from such highly sensitive and poetic temperaments?

Yet my little girl is so much more than a "mini-me." She is entirely her own person, someone I look at with admiration and awe. Where I am careful, she is adventurous; where I am "by the book," she is creative and experimental; where I am task-oriented, she is welcoming of distractions, wisely seeing that sometimes the best of life is to be found in the distractions.

Caitlin was baptized in the name of the Triune God on November 12, 1995. Since then, I have watched that little baby who kept me up all night growing into a young woman who still likes to stay up late, driven by a creative spirit that doesn't want to quit just because the sun has gone down and the clock says it's bedtime. Sometimes in the morning as she wraps the blanket around her and rolls over for just a few more minutes of slumber, she reminds me of the baby girl who wanted to stay snug inside my tummy instead of getting born. And then, when she finally crawls out of bed and greets me with a hug and smile, I pinch myself to think that God saw fit to send her to me--my little girl, who is now one of my best friends.

Happy birthday, Caitlin, with all my love. When I grow up, I want to be just like you.

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