Kiki was born nine years ago today on a cold, January day. She didn't want to come into this world, or at least tried her best to stay in the womb. Which meant seventy-two hours of labor for me. Yeah, you read that right. SEVENTY-TWO. And from the minute she was born, she wanted to be held, and as you would expect, found the most comfort in my arms.
Nine years have passed now, and I find Kiki is very much the same way today. Each year she gets a little more self-sufficient and seems to need me less and less. Yet there are times (mostly at night) she turns back into my baby again, and wants to cling and be held. I can't even count how many times I've heard her say "Mommy, I want you." I go to school to help out and her teacher is amused at how the independent, confident child he sees everyday, suddenly attaches herself to me minutes after I enter the classroom.
That same child didn't blink an eye this past August when she auditioned for a local production of the Nutcracker. Kiki walked right into the audition like it was just another day at school, with only a "Bye, Mommy." Didn't seem bothered at all that I couldn't go back with her, or watch, despite the fact that it was a completely strange, new place around a bunch of people she'd never met before.
That same, (almost) nine year old child, bravely danced on stage five times in a matter of three days. FIVE TIMES. Kiki danced in front of an auditorium full of (mostly) strangers, and enjoyed every single minute of it. During one of those performances, a fellow dancer accidentally stepped on her dress, causing her to trip and fall, just when she was to leap across the stage. Despite the fact that this was her turn in the spotlight, that very brave child did not stop. She did not shed a tear, nor bat an eye. She never once cried, "I want my Mommy!" That soon-to-be nine year old stood right back up, and continued dancing, never missing a beat, with a big smile on her face. My child. *Heart swells*
I have never been more proud of Kiki in all of her nine years. I truly don't think that as a grown adult, I could have handled myself as well as she did. She is so brave but fortunately for me she is still a Mommy's girl. The night she fell on stage, Kiki came home, curled up in my arms, just as she has done so many times before. I heard the all too familiar words, "Mommy, I want you." She may be nine, but she is still my baby.
Happy Birthday, brave girl! I love you and am so proud to be your mom!