What a blessed woman I am – two special days in one week. Today we celebrate my firstborn child, Erin Lee, born 27 years ago tonight, just just shy of midnight, changing my world forever. I knew she was going to be Erin Lee, no ultrasound needed or taken; it wasn’t that common then. 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 first Christmas dress – red velveteen and white satin – he just shook his head. And then she was born, four days overdue, in typical fashion, making a dramatic entrance in her own time – Erin Lee – I just knew.
She was tiny, five pounds, thirteen ounces, and it truly was love at first sight. I asked for her bassinette to be left in my room, not all that common then, but I couldn’t imagine them just whisking her off to a nursery. I wanted to get to know this little miracle and that we did – gently dancing around the hospital room to the taped music I had brought along, forging an unbreakable bond.
What I couldn’t possibly have known was the depth of motherly love that would overtake me instantly and continue to grow. We were talking about that just last week in a fun conversation about her impending birthday and nearing the age of 30, close to my age at her birth. As I’ve had occasion to tell her over the years, there is absolutely nothing on the face of this earth that could possibly change the fact of my unconditional love for her; she was and always will be my Erin Lee.
With her permission, I describe her as 105 pounds of pure spitfire, a force of nature. 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 and I wear several pieces of her jewelry.
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 the difficult days of chronic illness first manifested at five months. With a gift for languages hearkening back to her early days of imitating Pepe Le Pew, the French-speaking cartoon character and a first-rate imitation of Lady, star of the movie Lady and the Tramp, this was a little girl who let you know, with a toss of her hair, that she knew she was special and that is for certain. 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; I’m smiling as I reminisce in these early-morning hours
My firstborn child is 27 today. I am so very proud of the woman she has become and I am a better person for being her MummaLee. Blessings, Erin Lee and thank you for the joy and sheer pleasure you’ve brought me over these 27 years. I’d do it all over in a heartbeat.