Exactly 12 years ago today, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Unlike my first child, she was on time. Well, sort-of. My midwife was concerned about the increasing protein counts in my urine, showing signs that my kidneys were shutting down. I was referred to the maternity unit at the hospital. The specialist on call gave me two options: they induce me, so I could give birth that day; or they admit me and we can wait for labour to start on its own.
Umm… Such a silly question to ask a pregnant woman who was so over this thing called pregnancy. Eight hours later, my daughter was born.
I remember like it was yesterday when my husband brought our son in to see his sister. “She’s tiny, mummy,” he said. “She’s tiny.”
“Yes, Anthony. All babies are tiny.”
Little did we both know that she was also cheeky.
CJ (Christa to those of us in the family) has always been a determined child, never letting anything stand in the way of what she wants. Never mind that she might not actually know what she wants, but that’s beside the point.
She showed an interest in dancing at a very early age, prancing around the room and mimicking what she saw in her favourite movie: Hans Christian Anderson with Danny Kay. Her favourite scene is the ballet sequence, giving an abbreviated performance of the Little Mermaid.
You have no idea how proud I was of her when she got the chance to dance on the stage of the Issac Theatre Royal in Christchurch. It was that stage — a historic theatre rooted in the history of our city, and by the grace of God (and foresight of the engineers in charge of the restoration), it survived the quakes.
She first danced on the Theatre Royal stage in 2014. She has performed on that stage multiple times since, all with her ballet and contemporary dance.
Thankfully, CJ has maintained a sense of crazy. In truth, without the crazy, you would never survive in my family. Between the farting competitions that can sometimes ensue around the dining room table (thanks to my husband and his aunt), and the science geek conversations that often break out between my son and myself, I guess you can say that being a little crazy is a form of self-defence. Just check out her karate moves. (Never mind that she’s never studied karate, or any other martial art for that matter. She’s a dancer. It’s probably why her brother just casually walk away. He was never in any danger.)
With parents who like the outdoors and try to get out into the bush as often as we can (which is not very often), she’s had to learn some very important skills for surviving the wilderness. She can start a fire, sort-of, which is vital is you are going to toast marshmallows — or should I say burn marshmallows?
She can scale the side of a wall. (I have yet to work out the practical uses on this one, but I’m sure that she’ll find one at some point in the future.)
But like every teenager — well, pre-teen really — she has her grumpy moments. I can only imagine what she was thinking when her brother snuck up on her to take his photo.
Of my two children, I will gladly admit that my daughter has been the hardest one to deal with. When she was a preschooler, I was forever hunting her down in the stores. I’d turn my back and that girl was gone. There were times when I literally had her on a leash. (No metaphor there, people. She wore a harness that zipped up the back and I clipped the leash on.) In the grocery store, she was not allowed to wander free; she was in the child seat of the trolley — buckled in so she couldn’t climb out. Then she got too big for them. (Bugger!)
Now she’s 12, and she still disappears when I have my back turned while in the store. Something shiny has attracted her attention.
However, if you were to ignore all of the girly things that my daughter does (painting her nails, insisting on wearing dresses, the graceful ballet, etc.), she is definitely a mini-me. Her temperament is very similar to mine. Her musical and performing talent comes from me (except I can’t dance like she can — I’m a singer — operatically trained, never mind that I hate opera). And her creative streak comes from me too (however, I’m the writer and she’s the painter). She even looks like me. There is no question about what she will look like when she gets older. Just check this out.
Just look at the faces. OMG, it’s frightening to realise how much we look like one another, and how much I look like my mother. The photo in the middle (with my mother and I) was taken on a family holiday to Rotorua in March 1988. I was nearly 12 in that photo, roughly the same age that CJ was when the photo on the left was taken a few months ago. And my mother was 31 in that photo. Okay, she’s was a little younger than what I was when the photo on the right was taken (December 2014), but you can still see it.
No surprises what we’ll look like when we get older.
Regardless, it’s hard to believe that by baby girl is now 12. Where did the time go?
Happy Birthday, CJ!
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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2017