Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy 15th Birthday Melissa!

Stuffed inside every nook and cranny of a bookshelf in my living room are photo albums of every shape and size chronicling the highlights of my life.  These books of precious memories can easily be divided into two categories:

1. Before my daughter Melissa came along: 3 albums
2. After Melissa: 6,974 albums

Ok, so perhaps I am exaggerating....but only a bit!  Seems the arrival of my cherub 15 years ago sent me into a photo taking frenzy.

Melissa is sleeping - take a photo!
Melissa is crying - take a photo!
Melissa is eating - take a photo!
Melissa is pooping - take a .... wait, No!

The pages of these albums captured so much more than smiling faces hamming it for the camera, they preserved my thoughts, my emotions, my journey through the wonders of motherhood.  There are notes describing the daily activities of Melissa's first year, programs from countless talent shows and chorus concerts, report cards, birthday greetings, and Melissa-made drawings of cats and dogs, and flowers, and friends.

These days, it is a rare occasion where I can carve out a few  moments in my busy life to dust off the albums and immerse myself in memories of days gone by.   But today, perhaps, as I celebrate my daughter's birth, it's a good time to sit on the floor and open the pages to the past.

Or is it?

My Melissa has evolved from a 6 pound pumpkin who entered the world at 8:30 pm on July 1, 1997, into a beautiful, poised, talented, dedicated, creative, funny, intelligent, and wonderful young lady.

The age of 15 has ushered in a new era of independence for my offspring.  She has finished eighth grade and in two month's time she'll enter the doors to that bastion of older adolescence.... high school.   No longer can I justify allowing my overprotective nature to keep her confined to the house, afraid to let her ride her bike to the local pool, the library, or to meet a friend for ice cream.

The twinkle in her eyes tells me she has happily embraced this new found freedom, and provides a glimpse into the months...and years to come.  Biking will soon give way to driving, and high school will quick will give way to college, where I'll hide under the bed in her dorm room when I know I must truly let go.

But not yet, not now, not today.

We'll celebrate in a low key way, with my husband Bob, my inherited daughter Jessica and her boyfriend Brian, and a couple of Melissa's close friends.  There will be laughter, and food, and gifts, and phone calls from loved ones, and yes, of course, pictures.  

And the photo albums, well, perhaps they need to sit, undisturbed, at least for now.  For why should I celebrate my baby's birthday by clinging to the past, when I can relish in the beauty of today and enjoy all that she is, and all that she has become.

Happy birthday Melissa.  I love you!


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21 comments:

  1. Lisa, I was just thinking the other day about how photo albums are almost a thing of the past, in a way. All of my photos are now digital, and I miss pulling out the albums! Good for you for preserving memories in that way. I always forget my camera these days!

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    1. Cindy, I know what you mean, all of my photos are digital too - I feel like Facebook has become my scrapbook now! The only time I get actual prints made is when I make them for my mom, who is not computer literate!
      Lisa

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  2. What a sweet, loving tribute to your daughter. The years go so fast, don't they? I wish we could take one year and bottle it, to keep with us always, to remember every moment before it all becomes a blur. I think I would bottle five, still innocent and full of hugs for me, but already able to have conversations. Maybe six, when she loved poetry or eight, when we started reading the Harry Potter books aloud. Sigh. It really does go by fast.

    Happy Birthday, Melissa!

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    1. Hi Monica, it reminds me of the Jim Croce song, "Time in a Bottle".....I guess the "bottle" is our memories, and that's where we have to capture everything.
      Thanks so much for your kind words!
      Lisa

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  3. Belated wishes for a happy birthday to Melissa!

    The tricky part of letting your kids become independent is not taking it personally when they start to *only* want to do stuff with their friends and not with you...of course, not every kid goes through that phase, but in case yours does - it's totally not about you! :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

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    1. I know you are so right, but it is so hard to let them go...

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  4. well happy birthday to your daughter!

    My photo albums are the same way! I have about 3 of them for my life before my kids were born, and a TON afterwards. what is it about having a baby/kids that makes silly mundane everyday things photo worthy?

    I hope you have a wonderful day!

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    1. Hi Amber, now I have so many pictures saved digitally on the computer, thinking that some day I'll have the time to print them and put them in more albums. Some day....

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  5. Happy Birthday to Melissa! Timeley post for me, as this afternoon we were reminiscing about our family...one year ago today we went for a big perogy lunch, I weeded the flower beds, we had dinner, we went for DQ ice cream cones and then I went to bed, only to be woken up a few hours later in labour...and 1 year ago tomorrow at 1:34 am our baby was born! Thanks so much for sharing your journey :-) (and I take tonnes of pictures too!)

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  6. Lisa... A Happy HAPPY H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y to Melissa!! Oh how I can relate to what you are saying. Funny thing is that I have two sons 25 and 21 and my daughter a whopping 5 1/2 years old. So tons and tons of photos for my sons... then I kinda eased up a bit... then gazillions of pictures in the last 5 1/2 years! Here's to enjoying our daughters. Blessings to you and yours!

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    1. Hi Carla, you are so fortunate you get to enjoy all of those wonderful phases of your kids' lives! Keep snapping those photos, then you can relive the memories again and again!

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  7. Happy birthday to your daughter! I am going through a transition here with my kids, so I know how you feel.

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  8. What a beautiful tribute to a lovely young lady! (And, of course, to the heart of a Mother.)
    (I may be a few days late, but...) Happy Birthday Melissa!

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  9. What a sweet look at your daughter's life. I have four daughters from 5 to 16 so I could relate to so much of what you were saying! (Although I do not have a bunch of picture albums but I do have many sweet memories!)

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    1. Hi Shannon - if you read some of my earlier posts you will totally understand, specifically one titled: Mom, You Moron! Thanks for following me!!
      Lisa

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  10. Happy birthday, Melissa! It is hard to let go, I guess. But it does makes you beam with pride, seeing your little girl transform into a wonderful young lady.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words!!
      Lisa

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  11. Too funny! Sounds like you are a mamarazzi like me! I constantly take pics of my twins! Did we have a life before kids??
    LOL! Good luck with not hiding under her bed!
    Leigh
    www.oneandoneequalstwinfun.com

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  12. i can relate! Mothers really love taking pictures of their children. :) My daughter "Hermione" will turn 7. She was just 1-year-old a few days ago. :) "Time really flies."

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    1. It really does Potion Wiz, you blink and they are all grown up!!

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