Hey Sara of 2024,
You thought the first three years went fast. And that those creases by your eyes were actually crows feet. How precious.
You spent the first few years of Josephine’s life certain as each phase came and went that it was your favorite. She was a calm, happily portable baby, a steady footed toddler who never hunted down choking hazards and crammed them in her maw. Though there was that one occasion you turned your back and she snatched her brother’s allergy medicine off the table. Before you noticed she deftly removed the “child-proof” cap (as she had mastered around the age of one) and may or may not have consumed some. The voice on the other end of poison control allowed your heart to ease back down your throat to where it fit more comfortably, however, you’re likely still on some watch list for having tweeted about it.
Then came the months leading up to three. She mastered the scooter, sang songs from Frozen on loop-especially if one of you happened to be on the toilet. A closed door between you being the perfect set up for belting out “Do you want to build a snowman”. She stayed up late that summer at parties and concerts always flocking to the dancing drunk ladies and diversifying her moves beyond that spinning in circles thing that made you nervous she might eventually be really into hallucinogenics. You told yourself the skill of not puking or falling over could make her a very talented ballerina, but only if spared the inheritance of your miserable dancing skills. You worried what group of friends she’d gravitate toward in high school.
She was your most charming sidekick. Bobby referred to her as your Flava Flav as she’d back you up as you disciplined her brother with “yeah KIEAHnan!”. Other times she’d just shut him down herself. “Get your feet off da seat, Kieahnan! It not ok!” or “SHHH. Quiet! People can hear you.” He’d look to you mouth open, half incredulous, half trying not to crack up.
She turned rocks, stairs, logs, any elevated surface really, into a stage. Tomorrow, Maybe, and It’s a Hard Knock Life from Annie along with Somewhere Over the Rainbow were standard along with a penchant for making it up on the fly resulting in Randy Newman-like performances. People would stop and smile and jokingly ask if she had an agent. You thought maybe she should.
With more pals than she could count (she got stuck at “firteen” anyway), she woke up each day asking “my fwiends comin’ over?”. I imagine that hasn’t changed much. Though I hope none of them still take dumps in their pants. On second thought maybe issues that can be cleaned up by wet wipes would be preferable to what you’re fielding these days. Huh. Live and learn, I guess.
On a related note, her adoration for her big brother’s buddies was adorable AND potentially nerve wracking when faced with the thought that it was only the beginning. You lowered your blood pressure by telling yourself that the six year age gap would be like a moat. How’s that working out?
You woke up each day still in disbelief that you have a daughter. That you’d be tasked with the delight and terror of raising a gorgeous little girl. She had yet to break your heart or allowed the world to break hers. You enjoyed her most every moment, and spent part of nearly every night blissfully tangled up in her ever growing limbs and curls.
I hope the majority of that holds true. The business of parenting a teenager can’t be easy. Especially since you spent those first years assuming that she was saving up the hard stuff. So when she’s acting a fool and telling you everything you don’t know, remind her of that time in Macy’s when she sprayed perfume DIRECTLY INTO HER EYEBALL and with no hesitation you LICKED IT OUT. Because you’re her MOM. And you’ve always done the best you could with what you’ve got.
You’ve got this, mom of a teenager. And Happy Birthday, Jo/Josie/Josephine/Fini/Beans/Jojo or whatever it is you’re going by these days.
Sara of 2014