Today we celebrate Erin Lee, my elder daughter born 31 years ago tonight, just shy of midnight, changing my world forever. I knew she was going to be Erin Lee, no ultrasound needed. When I told my obstetrician that I was embroidering her Christmas stocking and already had her name across the top, he reminded me that the odds were 50/50. When I told him that I was working on her Christmas dress – red velveteen and white satin – he just shook his head. Then she was born, four days overdue, making a dramatic entrance in her own time – Erin Lee – I just knew.
She was tiny, five pounds, thirteen ounces, and I was smitten. I asked that her bassinet be left with me, couldn’t imagine letting them whisk her off to a nursery. I wanted to get to know this little miracle and the journey began. What I couldn’t possibly have known was the depth of motherly love that would overtake me instantly and continue to grow. Though she lives far away in a city she loves, I believe we are close at heart, more alike than not, though she might not always claim that :). I’ve had occasion to tell her over the years that there is absolutely nothing on the face of this earth that could possibly change the fact of my unconditional love for her; she will always be my Erin Lee.
With her permission, I describe her as 105 pounds of pure spitfire. She’s an artist in personality and temperament, unlike myself; I’ve always been amazed at how she sees the world, from little on, with totally different eyes than mine. I’ve saved samples of her art over the years; a fascinating journey through the developing eye and mind of an artist’s view of her world, always a unique perspective. It will provide the back-story when she’s famous, having her first gallery show. In the meantime, three of her paintings hang in my home, I wear several pieces of her jewelry and I keep a file of her work, updated often, on my phone and my PC.
An early reader, having completed the Laura Ingalls Wilder series at age six (a gift from her first-grade teacher during one of her many hospitalizations), she’s intelligent and articulate. I used to joke that all the time spent in an oxygen tent paid off beautifully, the silver lining to difficult days of chronic illness first manifested when she was just five months old. Erin has a gift for languages hearkening back to her early days of imitating Pépé Le Pew, as well as a first-rate imitation of Lady from the movie Lady and the Tramp.This was a little girl who let you know with a toss of her hair, that she knew without doubt that she was special. When Erin Lee laughs, everybody laughs, it’s positively contagious. She’s fiercely loyal with a wicked wit. If you’re close to her, she may challenge you in ways that test your soul, but the result is always worthwhile.
Erin Lee loves to travel. In January of 2014, she took her first solo trip – to Iceland – looking for artistic inspiration. This year began with a trip to Hawaii and included the traditional Hawaiian pineapple tattoo.
There is a new addition in the lives of Erin Lee and Brandon. Several weeks ago she texted a photo of what she called my “new grandogter“. In addition to the cats, they have opened their home to Andy, short for Andromeda, fulfilling one of Erin’s dreams – a dog of her own.
My firstborn child is 31 today, three decades under her belt. I am so very proud of the woman she is and I am a better person for being her Mumma Lee. Blessings, Erin Lee† Thank you for the joy you’ve brought me over these 31 years. I’d do it all over in a heartbeat. Joyeux Anniversaire; je t’aime en pièces (translation: “I love you to pieces.”) (1) The parenthetical one is our long-distance hug.
Enjoy the photos, one of Erin Lee in her historic Hawaiian hotel and the other in Seattle with Brandon.