Happy Birthday Tinkerbell

Today you turn 17 years old. How is that even possible, when I can remember bringing you home from the hospital like it was yesterday? You wore the cutest little yellow dress, and looked like a little doll in your carseat, which seemed way too big for you.

You were a very different baby than your older sister, independent from your very first breath. So independent, in fact, that you would not fall asleep if someone was holding you. You preferred to be left alone, to do things on your own terms, in your own way. Looking at you now, it is obvious that some things never change.

I am so proud of you for so many things. Your independence, your determination, your unwavering loyalty. You have seen and lived through so much more than you should have, but your experiences have made you who you are today, and I am so grateful that you are you. I know that you will never make the mistakes I have made, or let anyone (even your mom) tell you what to do. I love that about you. I love that you are mature enough to trust you own instincts, and to know what is right for you. I tried to raise you to question authority, rather than blindly follow, and you, more than any of your brothers or sisters, have gotten that message loud and clear.

When you had BabyG at 15, a lot of people were quick to doubt your ability to handle the responsibilities of motherhood. I never for a second thought you couldn’t do it. You have proven to everyone that you are a great mother, and can rise to any challenge put before you. Your son is living proof of that.

Happy birthday Tinkerbell. I can’t wait to see all you accomplish in the next year.

Becoming Real

What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room…

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

The Velveteen Rabbit

I just read this quote on another blog. It amazes me how much adults can learn from children’s literature. For the last year of my life, I have been living this quote. I have finally, at long last, started becoming real. Last August, I took the biggest step towards real I have ever taken, and for the first time, tasted freedom. For many reasons, mostly for my children, I had to backpedal temporarily, but now, now I know. I will not live someone elses life anymore.

I have been called many things in my quest for real-ness. Selfish, a liar, a cheater, a fraud. But, real truly doesn’t happen to people who break easily, and I cannot be broken. Not by words, accusations, hatred or anything else anyone wants to throw at me. I have no sharp edges, and I surely do not need to be carefully kept. In becoming real, I have learned independence, and strength, and integrity. You don’t become real alone, and thank God, I have the best and most fiercly loyal friends in the entire Universe, and children who are an amazing gift even when they are being impossible, and I owe them more than I could ever hope to repay. They make sure I am not alone. They are helping me to become real.

I thought I was alone. I thought that I was the only one who realized, at the age of 40 that I was living a life that wasn’t mine, fufilling someone elses destiny. Thanks to blogs, and online friendships, I have found that is far from true. Sometimes it takes a long, long time. It did for the skin horse, and it has for me. I wish it didn’t. I wish I had always known the real me. I can’t live my life in regret, however. I can help my children to know themselves, and remove the toxic people from my life. I can be content and peaceful in the life I have now. Yes, I may be loose in my joints, and somewhat shabby, but that only matters to people who will never understand.