John and I knew that our precious baby girl - our little 3 pound Olivia would someday become a woman. A lady. We just didn't expect it to arrive so quickly.
Well, I guess it's not at all that quickly, but it sure feels that way.
For a little over a decade, we got to watch our little premature baby develop into an amazing kid. She by far was the absolute cutest baby!! And that's just not "proud momma" talking - I mean, everyone told us this. From family to nurses, to complete strangers. And her cuteness wasn't just cute. I mean, she was cute as a button, giggly, sweet tempered, I-just-wanna-eat-her-up cute. I remember one night - one of her many middle of the night feedings - I had on some soft music playing, Lullabies for Babies, the CD was called. The moon was full and shining so gently through her Noah's Ark themed nursery window. I was just feeding her her bottle and I couldn't stop staring at her. She was just so perfect.
Well, I know what you're all thinking - babies are just that. " Babies. They grow up eventually. They become toddlers. And there's not a toddler in the world that's perfect!"
Ha! Shows what you know!
Olivia started to walk and yes, indeed, became a toddler. But, she was so sweet mannered and polite! Always a smile on her face. Always a "please" and a "thank you". Always just really well behaved. I'd like to take credit for that. But, even the best intentioned parent can't raise a perfect toddler. No, Olivia is just really, really that sweet.
So, then came kindergarten. You'd think that this perfection I speak of surely can't last this long. But, it did! She was still the nicest, most well behaved child on the planet. All her teachers thought so.
But, by this time, we noticed her weight quickly dropping and her appetite increasing and her energy kind of gearing up. The Christmas season was upon us... Christmas of '04. She was three. She was kind of helping me put some lights up in our living room, and she just happened to look up at the ceiling. I noticed a huge lump in her throat. I mean, this thing was very palpable and extremely noticeable. In fact, I remember thinking, "How could've I missed this?"
I took her to the pediatrician's office the very next day. As it turned out, she had Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Or Grave's disease. A form of hyperthyroidism. She was sent out quickly to a specialist in Hershey, PA. About an hour's drive from us. She had to see this specialist several times a year. She was put on medication and responded well to it.
With that crisis under control, we move on to the grade school years. Still a precious child. Still as sweet as could be. Sure, she had what I like to call "moments of slight insanity" - where she would throw a mini-fit, or she'd talk back, and sometimes told little "white lies". But, her genuine sweet and caring personality was always there. Very quick to apologize and very prompt to make up for her rarely seen bad moods.
She is an absolute animal lover. All kinds of animals. Always going on and on about how cute that is, or how she wants 10 of that type of animal when she grows up. Her passion though, is in loving dogs. Always been a HUGE dog lover. She even has ambitions on becoming a veterinarian.
She also enjoys jewelry making - again, kind of sticking to one particular thing in that arena - bracelets. That girl could whip up a bracelet faster than you can say the word, "bracelet". Throughout the years, she has easily made over 500 bracelets.
And because of this passion, we thought it would behoove her to do something constructive with her talent. She became a girl scout when she turned 10. She joined the local girl scout troop, and blossomed even further. Not only is she even more crafty, she also has taken several trips with the girl scouts and sold the beloved girl scout cookies. She broke out of her "shy-to-strangers" shell and really has shown courage and responsible behavior since joining.
Well, as her 12th birthday is next month, she is finally starting to become very emotional. Not just emotional, I mean downright hormonal.
And we expected it. I even took it several steps ahead of my own mom and purchased or borrowed all the right books about this time in her life. About the "becoming a woman", about what to sort of expect once a month, even touched base on the "where babies really come from" speech. And while I got the "Oh mom, that so gross!" or the "Seriously? I have to really do this??" and even the "Why couldn't have I been a boy???" - I could tell tonight, as she looked at me with tears in her questioning eyes, showing me the stains in her underwear - that she really loved the fact that I talked to her about it. She knew there was nothing seriously wrong with her. She knew she didn't need to be rushed to the hospital because she was (what Vata from the movie My Girl called) hemorrhaging.
So, while we are a little saddened about how quickly these last several years have gone by, we're also very proud of the woman she is starting to become. I know it is just the beginning to one hell of a ride. But, I also know that we can continue to raise a respectful and bright young lady....
|Olivia at her girl scout bridging ceremony|
|Olivia at her girl scout bridging ceremony|
|Olivia and her favorite doggie of all time, our American bulldog, Molson|
|Olivia as a preschooler, a toddler|