I know there are some of you with no daughters (or sons) of your own. Please know that your influence reaches out to my children and to others' children. Your work and service are immeasurable and appreciated each time you give your time and attention to any of our children or grandchildren. You are Mothers and Fathers to many who look to you for your numerous examples of kindness and patience and love.
I'll never forget the first time I saw my daughter, Christine. After the docs delivered her, she was placed on my shoulder, up next to my cheek. My arms were strapped to some kind of boards out to my sides so I wouldn't interfere with the C-Section they were performing due to complications during pregnancy. I couldn't actually hold Christine next to me, but I snuggled against her as best I could and looked her over through tear streaked eyes. She was the most beautiful little baby girl I had ever seen! I instantly fell in love with her. I have to admit I was terrified about being a mother for the first time, but after the fear subsided and my instincts caught hold of me, I hit the ground running with all my might!
Christine's Grandmother came and stayed with us the first week we were home from the hospital, then Mama came the next week. They both left their homes to come and help me and Christine adjust to each other's schedules and establish some routines. It was such a comfort to have their experience and love surrounding us as I learned what was needed at the time. We sort of viewed each other differently after the birth of Christine. I was their equal now. We were all Mothers.
Even though Sue (Grandmother) didn't have daughters of her own, she still had four daughters-in-law. We were like her daughters in some respects -- the daughters she didn't get to raise, but was still teaching all the same. We learned a lot from her, lessons to remember.
[For those of you with only sons -- love those daughters-in-law as your own daughters!]
Mama had two daughters, my younger sister and me. Oh, we fought some fierce battles with each other at times, and I'm sure our Mama was exhausted by it all, but she still loved and cared for us with all the energy she had. I learned a lot more from Mama than I would have admitted while in my youth. As I began a family, I realized how much she had done for us and how much she sacrificed so that we would have a chance to try to make our way out in the world. The greatest lessons I have learned came from my Mother. I am so grateful to be able to recognize and acknowledge her influence for good in my life. I'm also glad I remembered to tell her about some of those good things while she was living and able to savor my gratitude to and for her.
Being the Mother of a daughter has been the highlight of my life. To watch her grow from a tiny baby to holding her own baby is a miracle that is beyond words. This fall, Christine will give birth to her own daughter. She will experience for herself what I, and my Mother, experienced when we looked into our daughters' eyes for the very first time, kissed those softer than soft cheeks, loved with a love too great to speak, and thought, 'it just can't get any better than this'.....
You are in for the time of your life, my beautiful daughter, Christine! I love you!