My baby girl is a teenager.
It started innocently enough, some 13 years and 9 months ago. Well, you know how it starts. And ends up a bit like this:
With her Daddy's skin and her mama's eyes, she came in like a lamb, even without an epidural. She was this wonderful science experiment where everything seemed to turn out far, far better than I'd could have ever hoped. I think it's because for a woman who'd never planned on having kids, I had no preconceived notions as to what being a mother would be like. I never spent any time day dreaming of what I would name a baby, or how the nursery would look, or how many strolls to the park I would take. Maternal instinct wasn't part of my wiring.
Then I turned 29 and the urge to procreate became THE dominating urge, rising up above all my other mostly dominating urges (namely, the urges to smoke and NOT procreate). And so, Project Baby began.
We were lucky. Within 3 months, I was pregnant. Next thing you know, I'm a mama.
And that was 13 years ago.
I've never professed to be the best mother in the world, though if it turns out that way in the end, I come by it honestly. One needs only to look at the example I was raised with. Still, I have my strengths. I think it can be proven by the fact that my girl is listening to The Cure.
I'd planned out this post yesterday. It was going to be a recap of her Friday night party and how much fun it was to see all of her amazing friends, and how wholesome it all was, with all the pizzas and pop and costumes and ghost stories and innocence, and how it almost felt like we were Mormon for the night.
And then I wanted to write about how I messed up her actual birthday by taking her out to run some errands on Saturday, completely forgetting that her unwrapped present was in the back seat. This, despite me telling Dan repeatedly: stay away from the garage, for the love of God! Aidan's gift is in my car! As she opened the door and her head cocked suspiciously sideways, I heard myself say, ""Please tell me you don't see that guitar case in the back seat."
I was also going to write about going out shopping with her yesterday so she could spend some of her birthday money on new clothes, and how I adore the fact that she's inherited Dan's love of vintage and second hand clothes, and how she more or less shuns anything name brand in the name of invention and creativity. And how grateful she was for everything she'd gotten.
But as I sat down to write this morning, the sentimental me crept in. The one who realizes that despite all of my potential shortcomings as a parent and a person, my kid, who is no longer a kid, is turning out to be an amazing human in her own right. One full of hope and grace and ideas and self-respect. All I did was provide the vehicle to get her here.
For all the stuff that might come at us in this new teen-aged era, I think in the end, we're going to be just fine. I'm so thankful that the biological clock hit me when it did. And today, the gratitude overwhelms me.
I love you, baby girl.
This post should be preceeded by a warning. I am reading this at work and can’t quite blink back the tears. Of course, they will just blame it on the pregnancy hormones. congratulations to both of you!
Kim S. says
CZ – I love the story today. Our babies grow up so fast!
What is cracking me up is the first picture, Aiden & her friend look just like you & Ali Edwards (as 13 yrs olds)!!
The fact that she listens to The Cure really does that you are the best mom ever. The least we can offer our children is a decent education in music. This is a beautiful tribute to Aidan.
Lauren H. says
What a sweet tribute. She sounds like a wonderfully unique chick, on her way to womanhood. Don’t listen to all the talk about how difficult girls are when they go through puberty….it’s a terrific time. I can attest to it. I have a wonderfully unique 13-year-old too, stands up for herself, eschews brand names, going on four years as a vegetarian, and counts me as one of her best friends. A mother can only hope that is a lifetime thing. Have fun with your teen!
I meant really does prove you are the best mom ever.
What a great post!
Jeez, Cathy – you made me tear up! I feel just the same way about my girl, who turned 18 this year.
Boy, you can do it all – Make us laugh and make us cry! Aidan sounds like a great daughter. She appears to have a great family to! Lots of humor helps during the next six years. I have four daughters, the last two (twins) are now 19. I speak from experience 🙂 And when they listen to your music, you know it is all good. It’s Dylan at our house.
If I had a tenth of your way with words and photos C.Z…
What GREAT Mom you are.
Welcome to One-Three.
sue Treiber says
you are a swell mom. would you adopt me?
Happy Birthday Aidan and congrats on becoming a teen!
Cathy, I seriously think we were separated at birth!
dang, now my makeup is all messed up. stupid tears. Little warning next time the sentimental you creeps in. k?
Tena Sprenger says
Welcome to the teenage years Cathy and Aiden, they are good times for sure! I loved your recap of the first 13 years, as the mom of a daughter in her first year of college I can’t believe how fast the years between 13 and 18 went. LOved this sentimental post. have a great day.
Oh, the tears. Can you believe there was a time where she wasn’t here?
You totally crack me up. She’s sure lucky to have you for a mom. And it seems that you’re lucky to have her, too! What a great post!
Jennifer Grant says
I simply cannot wait until you write your memoirs. Please hurry–its going to be that amazing.
Kirsten V. says
What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing it, the tears in my eyes are a great way to start my day. I think I’ll go hug my daughters now (ages 1 and 3).
Katie Scott says
The self portait of you & your daugher with Dan in the background – its Disney right? Thunder Mountain Railroad in the background between your heads? Am I right? We go to Disney A LOT.
Loved this Cathy. I do these retrospectives every year as my girls turn one year older to being less and less my little babies.
Aidan is such a beautiful young girl. I know she’s gonna turn out just great. You’re a wonderful, flawed mama…just like us all. Now I gotta go get working on introducing my seven year old to The Cure.
Nancy Hyland says
Really sweet, got a little misty eyed. My little girl is turning 2 and I can’t believe how fast that went. I cannot even imagine her at 13!! I hope she turns out half as good as Aidan – she really is a cool chica!!
What a sweet and lovely post and tribute to your daughter. It made me all teary-eyed. Nothing says a good day at work like Monday and tears at your desk 🙂
Dang it all, I’m tearing up here! What a lovely post for a beautiful girl. 🙂
My baby girl turned 18 yesterday!
CZ–that was a great post. (sniff, sniff)
Happy Birthday Aidan!
, just beautiful, girlfriend. Happy Birthday to Miss Aidan. I just can’t believe she’s not a little teeny girlie anymore. 🙁
Anne M. says
This was beautiful! Congratulations to you both.
I’m not pregnant (like the first poster) and can’t hold back the tears. What a beautiful tribute. Congratulations on turning 13 Aiden & happy birthday to you too Momma.
Wonderful post. Love your tribute to her. Caution…there MAY be a few slammed doors and drama days…hopefully not to many, but they will come.
heather (h2) says
seriously choked up…
Margaret C says
You did good, girl xx
Madeline St Onge says
Love this enrty Cathy. She is the human being that she is today because her momma done good
Christie E. says
I love your post today. Happy 13th Aiden.
I was gonna write about how sweet this post is and how teary I started to feel, but all I can really think is, WHOO HOOO! she said POP!
That’s right! People, It’s called POP!
Marta M. Darby says
Stop it. Stop! You had me at “my baby girl is a teenager.”
Oh I’mah bawlin’ now! Yup! You must be doin’ somethin’ right Mz Cathy Z!
Nicole Harlow says
A beautiful tribute to a beautiful (inside and out) girl! Congrats to you too on your 13th anniversary of motherhood!
“All I did was provide her the vehicle to get her here” … Hum … you sell yourself short, Cathy, if you were just referring to your womb there. Hope and grace and ideas and self-respect don’t materialise out of nowhere – it’s the thirteen-year vehicle of all those things which have brought her this far, and Aidan has made them her own, expressed in her unique way. Yep, here’s to you, Aidan, on your special day, but I’m also raising a toast to your Mom. 🙂
sweetness. Happy Birthday Aidan!!!
emily ruth says
so beautiful…i’d say that you & aidan are both pretty lucky 🙂
Oh, Cathy, you did it again! You brought tears to my eyes! What a wonderful tribute to your daughter. Hope her milestone birthday was extra special.
Sue Carter says
Happy Happy Birthday Aiden. Great story on Aiden. She is so lucky to have you as a Mom and you are lucky to have her as a daughter.
Yeah teen years!
Beautiful story. . .BEAUTIFUL child.
this post is beautiful. happy 13 and many more, just like this one.
Stephanie S. says
Happy Birthday Aidan! Cathy – my daughter is only 5 and I feel like that went by in the blink of an eye. They are such amazing little creatures – what a privelige to get to be their mamas, eh?
Holly A. Moss says
Ah, Cathy! You sound like me ~ only it wasn’t until my 30’s. I can only hope that I turn out to be half as great a mom to my daughter as you are to yours. Thanks for this post!
Happy Birthday Aidan!
Wendy H says
That was a wonderful post! Good for her; good for you.
I’m going to
Traci Severson says
Completely and utterly beautifully written, as usual. As I again entered the teen years with my second child, a daughter as well, I realized that now all I have in my home are teenagers and the fun on the horizon of watching them as they become their own people and with it comes a completely different kind of parenting but what lies under it all is the same, and this never changes, the love you have for your child/children. It’s amazing to watch them grow!
The photos are precious!! They do grow up so fast!!
The next few years will be challenging but try to cherish them…the kids will be out the door to college much sooner than you will want. Thanks for sharing the journey!!
Your online Scrapbooking Friend,
Happy Birthday to Aiden! I can (barely) remember the thrill of turning 13 and the party and feeling of “officially” not being a kid anymore. Sigh. So much ahead of her.
I cracked up at your “almost Mormon” joke. I thought that was a requirement for scrapbooking superstars. haha
This post and the one before almost made me cry. I have been feeling VERY sentimental towards my 4 children lately. Especially my yougest who is my first daughter and most likely my last child. It does go by in a blink, and I am not too happy about it at the moment. But I am so grateful for the journey I get to have with each of them.
Happy birthday to your sweet teenager and congrats on being a fab mom for over 13 years!
Nancy C. from Wilmington, NC says
Oh Cathy, how all of us who now have empty nests understand! I taught school and was perfectly happy to leave children behind at the end of the day. My clock didn’t start the loud ticking until I hit 31. My son was born when I was 33, almost 10 months to the day after his father and I were married. And no, I didn’t have an epidural either. I have a pic that looks almost like a carbon copy of the second one above. He will be getting married this October the day before his 26th birthday. I don’t know who gave him permission to grow up that fast. Enjoy every moment with both of them. College will be here way before you’re ready for it!
Sara Mangan says
Wonderful post, Cathy. It made me cry.
I took your class at CKU, in Minneapolis and your layout “Blink” about Adian made me cry. It amazes me and makes me sad when I realize how fast time goes with my girls.
You have a wonderful way with words. She is lucky to have you as her mom.
Bonnie Hoover says
I so feel you! My first baby will graduate high school in a couple months, has been 18 for a few months now, just registered for the draft, and in a few short months I will be sending him off to college. Seems like only yesterday he was turning 13 and how could I possibly be old enough, no, mature enough to have a teenager. Now I’m thinking the same thing about having a college student. Is this how things will go for the rest of my life?
almost mormon for a night… cathy, you’re so dang funny.
great post, for a great girl, and her great mama. you lucky ladies.
cathy..you made me cry…but a feel good cry..I’m not an emotional person..my kids have said they’ve only seen me cry once..but you ‘re breaking thru..reached me in ways very few people could…we connect…and now you are a mother of a TEENAGER..may the force be with you..and may you continue to be the HIP mom you so are!!! the Cure…shaking my head..that’s so cool
Happy Birthday Aidan! Congrats, Cathy, on your wonderful kid! 🙂
Rhonda p says
Oh Cathy. As a mother of one (now grown), I sit here reading this and am on the verge of tears. Such a touching post. Thankful everyday. Happy 13, Aidan.
Jacqueline M. Schimmel says
awesome tribute Cathy…you have me close to tears. She is such a special gorgeous young woman and you made her and now she’s making herself. 🙂 Great job Cathy!
As I sit here reading your post, admiring your beautiful and heartfelt words, my first child is kicking away inside my stomach (due in May). I just hope that the MATERNAL INSTINCT shines through brightly when the time comes for this little one to arrive because I hear that they don’t come with instruction manuals.
Your daughter is beautiful and I hope she enjoys her first year as a teenager. Remind her… LIFE FLIES BY SO QUICKLY SO, ENJOY EVERY MOMENT. (And ALWAYS remember to tell your mom you love her!)
Stephanie Menzock says
Thanks for the cry. Loved the photos.
This one hit hard Cathy, my son just left home for Army basic training yesterday. He’s 18 1/2 and those teenage years are now behind us. **Sniff**
Shaun at Oak Den says
A lovely tribute. Blessings to you both!
Michelle Contarino says
Very sweet Cathy..I don’t usually (like to ) cry, but I did have to fight back a tear when I saw that last pic! Congrats on 13 years..your daughter is beautiful!
Ali Edwards says
this is a serious treasure for aidan.
Awww, Cathy, you’ve reduced me to tears. I firmly believe that as moms, we all bring different skills to the party…there is no one “right” way to be a parent. Aidan is who she is because of the unique influences of you and Dan. Like you, I never thought about being a mom, but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. Enjoy the teenage years, Cathy! As the mom of a 16-year old, I can tell you that you’re in for the time of your life!
She is gorgeous!!
I love that in picture #3 it is so clearly a picture of Aidan that I would have recognized her even if the photo wasn’t on your blog. Isn’t it neat that in some ways they have changed *so* much and in other ways not at all? XX’s
Tina Cockburn says
Happy Birthday, Aidan!
And Happy Aidan’s Birthday to you, too, Cathy!
YOu are so cool, Cathy. It is hard watching them grow up, huh? count your blessings, It’s nice to have a good relationship w/your daughter, your too cool for school. She’s lucky to have a mom like you. Love your website!!!!
Cathy this so awesome:) So, there is hope for this dominating urged non-procreator and smoker:) Beautiful Post.
You are a great writer! Truly comes from the heart. Aiden is lucky to have you as a mother.
Paula in PHX says
Thank you, Cathy. I am BAWL-ING. I think you and I are about the same age, but I got a late start and was fretting just today about my children not being babies anymore — they’re 6, 5, and 4. Funny, I’m usually found thanking my lucky stars for their growing independence. I can’t imagine how it must feel to have your first become a teenager. So beautiful how thankful and sentimental you are.
denise mcmullan says
I so clearly remember the wonder in my girls’ eyes when you let them hold your baby! Delaney was 3 and Amy was 7. Such a beautiful baby — and teenager!!
Jennifer S says
What a great post. It made me tear up. It also made me realize that my 3 yr old daughter needs a brother or sister very soon 🙂
Happy belated birthday, Aidan!
Kathy F says
Cathy…your post had me laughing and crying. I hope your little girl had a happy 13th and it soundslike you are doing a wonderful job! 🙂
Elizabeth Dillow says
Goodness, I’ve got big fat tears running down my cheeks. My little baby turns 7 next month, which is probably about the age I first saw Aidan splashed on the pages of magazines!
As one who’s currently experiencing the mama urge, your post has me all teary eyed. Beautifully written and heartfelt tribute, Ziel.
Happy Birthday Aidan!