And Before I Knew It Your Were 40- A Mother’s Reflections On Her Daughter’s 40th Birthday
Where to begin-how does one sum up 40 years of memories into a single post and yet 40 years ago today, all my dreams came true when they put you in my arms and my world turned upside down as I went from just being Gayle to the only title I ever wanted-that of Mommy. And today my best friend, my baby, my daughter turns 40 and yes it all goes by in the blink of an eye. You were born 40 years ago today and I can remember that day as if it were yesterday which is pretty amazing as now there are days when sometimes I can’t remember what happened an hour ago. I was very young, too young to be a mother really, when you came into this world screaming at the top of your lungs but a mommy was the only thing in this universe that I ever wanted to be and you made all my dreams come true. Starting life 3 weeks late, (the theory goes you were doing your hair and your makeup), we learned how to get through life together. You survived me putting the diapers on you backwards for the first week, being dressed in head to toe pink and still being called a boy and all the trials and tribulations that go along with being a first time mom, and being the oldest child.
First of all if I was writing this 40 years ago, I would be doing it by hand or on a typewriter-but at least it would have been an electric one, even though it would have been the size of a house because that was the year that Apple Computer was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Happy Days was the #1 TV show back in those days and I refused to go to the hospital not knowing that they had television in the labor and delivery rooms because I didn’t want to miss MASH because back then in the dark ages you only had one chance to watch your favorite show-there were no VCRs or OnDemand or DVRs or more than the basic 5 or 6 channels for that matter. I wouldn’t have been able to have my ice tea because there was only 1 Starbucks and to call people to let them know that you were finally about to make your appearance into the world after being three weeks beyond your due date, I had to stand in the kitchen and not move more than a few feet away from the phone because it was attached to the wall and we could only move as far as the phone chord would allow.
Obviously there were no cell phones so that meant texting was out nor could I announce it on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram as those would not come to be until decades into the future-yes decades. And as for your first pictures, we had to wait for the roll of film to be developed a week or two later to see if we were indeed able to capture that moment in time. Your earliest movements were captured on a Super 8. From early on you always loved gymnastics and could stand on your head longer than anyone else and maybe that was due to the fact that 1976 was the year that Nadia Comaneci scored the first ever perfect score in Gymnastics. It was a terrible time to be a fan of red M&Ms because that was the year that they banned red M&Ms and they would not return until 1987. And of course in 1976 you were not yet a big sister…..
And it would not be a Turner Family Birthday post without everyone having a say so let’s start with youngest……
“Happy Birthday Sis! Thank you for always being there for me and helping to guide me down my path and getting me to where I am today whether that be the Dark Side of the Force or the Light-time will tell.
In your honor I will be eating Mickey Mouse pancakes at Magic Kingdom for you today. I love you and may The Force, always be with you.
And moving up the line…..
“Here are a couple of memories of Heather for her 40th Birthday. There are the obvious memories of growing up together and living with each other as adults, and of course the different trips and sporting events. But here are few that fall outside of that. I have several others but I feel they are not appropriate for social media.
1) Going on trips and Heather bringing a special folder to make sure everything is together. Not quite the same as having a list of a few stops but close enough.
2) Walking around a store in Texas in our pajamas and having our dad pretend not to know us because he was so embarrassed, granted we were in our 20’s.
And then there was that time you tried to throw Kevin out of “your” crib…
“Hard to believe it’s been 40 years already, and you look every day of it….just kidding. Even though the years have flown by I still remember when we were little kids and you would always be the instigator and I would follow your lead. Later on as Jason got older, he too would join me in following your lead. You could be bossy at times and enforced your rule with an iron fist (or your trademark double slap) at least until you realized that I had finally gotten bigger than you. As we got older, you moved into more of a protective role, looking out for Jason and I, and later on Zack.
You always looked out for us and on occasion, smacked us upside the head when we needed it. And in more recent years you’ve expanded to include your nieces and nephew, always willing to attend a birthday party, or recital or donate to a fundraiser. You’ve had more than your share of rough patches in your life but you’ve never let it change you or impact how much you care for your family and friends. I couldn’t ask for a better Big Sister nor a better GooGoo for Moya and Ivan.
We love you and wish you a very happy 40th birthday,
Love, Kevin, Rachel, Moya and Ivan”
Even though I was not quite as prepared as in my mind I imagined myself to be, we managed to muddle through together somehow and by the grace of God, you grew into the incredible, determined, beautiful woman with the deepest compassion for others that your are today.
You were my hope my dreams, and my proof of how wonderful life can be and always will you and me show and inspire me each and every day how life should be lived.
Today is your birthday and of course, I am in shock at how fast the time has gone. You have grown up to be a wonderful young lady and I cherish each moment I get to spend time with you and be your Mommy. Birthdays of your children also push you into a state of reflection because right after you see how much time has gone by and how quickly it evaporated-you began to question the results of your parenting and evaluate how you can do better.
It is hard to describe how much you love someone when you first look at them. Now it’s hard to describe how I feel about you growing up so quickly.Every child’s birthday causes parents to pause and remember. I’m certainly no different. I can still clearly remember the day you came into this world but at the end of the day you’ll always be my first-born baby! Turning 40 isn’t really just about turning 40 because it is a combination of everything leading up to that. It’s about the time you turned 34 and 13 and 16 and 21 and 1 and anything and everything in between and for everything that is yet to come, and yes, life is just beginning because age is not just the sum of the years but every one of the years that all lead up to today. When you look in the mirror you see the snapshot of the woman you are today but when I look at you, I see the moments of the last 40 years all come together that have made you who you are today and who you will continue to become over the upcoming years.
It sees the Heather in the pink bunny costume with the teething cracker hanging out of her mouth, or the Heather on her first day of Kindergarten, or the big sister with her brothers, or the giggling girl at the slumber party or the screaming fan of New Kids On The Block or George Michael, or the teenager in search of the Jelly shoes she absolutely had to have-and never wore again, or the gifted scientist living her dreams and her goals and finding the cures to some of the most dreaded diseases known.
My heart sees then and now and everything in between. I am not stunned by my daughter’s age. I look in the rearview mirror and see all she has been. I look at her now and see all that she is. And I think 40 is good and the next 40 will be even better and I cannot wait to see all that awaits you along the way.I can’t adequately express to you how very grateful I am for your birth and your life. God sent me a gift once. A gift, that filled my existence with love, joy and happiness. That gift was everything. That gift was you So many times as parents, we make the mistake of pushing our children into an assumed state and hope that they assume we love them because of the things we do, the things we allow, and the things we buy. Today, I did not want YOU to assume-I want you to know just how much I love you and how much you mean to me.
I wish for you the stars. I wish for you everything and then add to that infinity. I wish great love for you, wherever you find it. I wish that your dreams, whatever they may be, come true and if they don’t, that you make them happen. I wish for you all of the beauty of the world, but the sadness too, because sadness makes you stronger and sadness makes the happy moments seem even more joyful.
You have made the darkness in my heart light up brighter than I ever thought possible. You give me a reason to live and try each and every day. I cannot thank the Lord enough for blessing me with you. And as blessings come, so do disappointments. There are trials and rewards throughout everyone’s life. You have helped me through the most difficult times of my life. I can only pray you will allow me to be there for yours.
Years have passed and you’ve grown and become a lovely woman. A very forgiving and gracious woman. You know me. You know my weaknesses. Yet you love me. deeply. And in every sense of the word, you are the glue that holds the entire family together.
Above all, I want you to know how much we all love you with all of our hearts!
Reach for the Stars, Believe In The Possibilities and Always Live Your Dreams!
I’ll Love You Forever, I’ll Love You For Always, As Long As I’m Living My Baby You’ll Be,