Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Do you remember Twelve?

I do.

It was, literally, the dawn of a new decade (one of my favorite decades, in fact...the one of straight-leg jeans, big hair, and Prince).

1980.

It was the last summer before I entered junior high. I spent it lying on a big towel, under the big tree in our front yard... reading Nancy Drew and Black Stallion books; staying up late on Saturday nights to watch "Love Boat" (and "Fantasy Island," if I could sneak it past my parents); riding around the neighborhood on my bike and skating to the "Xanadu" soundtrack in my garage.

I turned 12 right before school started... the year I entered junior high. It was the year I had to learn to open a locker for the first time; walk in the halls with "real" teenagers who were much bigger than me; and crush on Scott with the curly blonde hair.

I remember the birthday party Mom and Dad let me have with my friends. I invited six girlfriends and we pitched a tent in the backyard; we stayed up late, told scary stories, and "pigged out" on nacho cheese Doritos and Dr. Pepper. It was one of the best birthdays ever.

And that year...

I was happy, but emotional.

I was carefree, yet knew I was on the brink of changes.

Twelve was a year filled with fun and adventure; I truly have good memories of it. But it also wasn't the easiest year ever (by its nature, it can't help but be challenging).

And this is where I find my middle child today.

Delaney celebrates her twelfth birthday today and I greet her birthday with the knowledge that Twelve is a complex year. It will be filled with the giggles and silliness of girlfriends; the "he's so fine" declarations about boys; the childlike fun of someone who still knows she has permission to act like she's a year away from teenagehood.

But, I know it will also involve hormones, and crying, and lots of eye-rolling.

As my girls grow older by the year, I continue to learn that parenting is full of conflicting emotions. I love the little children they once were, yet I don't want to stay stuck in those years. I love the young adults they are evolving into and feel proud of their progress. Yet, at the same time, I tear up when I think of the little child they are leaving behind. It truly is a Parenting Catch-22.

So, what to do?

On this day, today, I will simply celebrate the wonderful arrival that came into our home back on June 11, 1996. I will watch her open up her presents, blow out her candles, and make her wishes. I will enjoy her blissful smile and the sweet "thank you"s she will give me, her Pop, and her sisters.

I will thank God for the blessing that is Delaney.

And I will tell her, "Happy birthday, sweetheart. I love you."

And I will whisper, so she can't quite hear it: "Welcome to twelve. May it treat you well."

26 comments:

Adrienne said...

Happy Birthday Delaney!!!!

hippochick said...

happy b-day, delaney. praying for a wonderful day -- and year.

~hippo hugs~
p.

Nina Diane said...

oh yeah......happy birthday Delaney! And you know, how can anything ever go wrong with a name like that....hehe

Renee said...

Happy Birthday to Delaney! I hope she has a great twelfth year.

Cheryl Wray said...

Adrienne--Thanks!!

Pam--Thanks!! it will be a good year!

Nina--LOL YOU would like that name, huh?

Cheryl Wray said...

Renee--You snuck in there while i was commenting. LOL Thanks!!

Heather said...

Happy birthday Delaney!
That is so sweet Cheryl! It brought tears to my eyes! They grow up way to fast!

Maria said...

OMG, Cheryl, your post just brought tears to my eyes! Soooo beautiful! Happy birthday Delaney! You are both so lucky to have each other and to have such a beautiful family!

I can so relate...Sabrina just turned 11 last week...how come time travels so fast?

Tons and tons of hugs to you both! Happy 12!

camport said...

aww that is beautiful. And such a perfect representation of all that is 12! Happy birthday, Delaney!

)

Anonymous said...

HAPPY B'DAY DELANEY.

CY THE WAY C. I REMEMBER WHEN I TURNED 12. IT WAS 1978. WASN'T IT ABOUT 38 YEARS AGO FOR YOU. I MEAN 28 YEARS AGO. I MEAN 20 SOMETHING YEARS AGO. (HA HA) YOU CAN'T BE AS OLD AS G. AND I ARE CAUSE I CAN'T REMEMBER THE GORY DETAILS OF BEING 12, OR 20, OR EVEN 30.
JUST THOUGHT I WOULD PROD YOU A LITTLE. JUST TO SET YOUR MIND AT EASE, SHE IS STILL A PRETEEN.

DON'T RUSH IT.

BOB BOB

Jeff said...

There's a great song in "A Chorus Line" -- only in the stage show, not in the film -- called "Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love." I must send this MP3 to you. I'll do that when I get home tonight... you'll get a kick out of it.

Kathy said...

WOW! This one put tears in my eyes!

Happy Birthday Delaney!

Travis Erwin said...

Happy birthday to Delaney and great post. You really captured the past there.

Brown English Muffin said...

Ahh this was sweet...Happy Birthday Delaney!

Oh yeah I still can't open a locker...our safe is a lock style and it takes me forever to into it..I have to decided if I really really need what's inside!!

Heather said...

Happy Birthday Delaney. As always Cheryl, your writing puts everything so perfectly. Awesome.

Ms.L said...

Awww,I sure hope it does too:)

Happy Birthday Delaney!

Cheryl said...

What a wonderful post. I can feel those years myself. I know about the conflicting emotions of letting them grow up but still wanting them little! Happy Birthday Delaney, hope your day is very special and all of your wishes come true!

Wendy's Blog said...

oh yes, and happy 12. My daughter is 12 soon to be that teenager year 13.
Boy! I miss those years.

Auburn Kat said...

Happy Bday Delaney!

Gosh, I don't remember being 12 and that's prob a good thing! =) I think this was the stage of the...I don't know how to control my curly/frizzy hair!

Gin said...

This post is so sweet, Cheryl. Love how you put it all!

Dawn Bibbs said...

Awww, what a sweet post. Happy Birthday, dear Delaney.

Marjolein said...

Happy belated!!!
And Cheryl... you got me tearing up here, what a wonderful words you put down... My youngest is twelve, almost thirteen... and it's true, all you said, happened this year... Very very lovely post!!

Oh, btw, thanks for your sweet comments!!

CINNIBONBON said...

Happy B-day to Delaney!!
Man oh man how you have plenty of details. I don't think I could recall that much even if I tried.LOL
But it does like one fabulous and happy childhood. Thanks for sharing such wonderful memories!!

Dettao said...

happy birthday to Delaney and hugs to Mom cause babies growing up is not easy. Been there, done that, happy to say I survived and you will,too.

Redhead Editor said...

Happy 12th Birthday, Delaney. Looks like it got off to a great start. You are so blessed to be surrounded by such love.

Delaney said...

I LOVE YOO MOMMY!!!

THATS SO SWEET TO ACTUALLY KNOW YOU LOVE ME THAT MUCH!!

jk

WELL YA THAT TEARED ME UP A BIT!!

HA!!

I LUV YOU