Time is a bullet train.
I recently read that on a friend’s Blog and really, could it be any more truthful? I think not.
Ten years ago, the night before my due date of August 15th, my husband left for work. At the time, he was a New York City Police Officer. About an hour after he left for his shift, New York went dark. At first, we were all terrified. Only two years after 9/11, everyone thought maybe it was another terrorist attack. It ended up being “THEE” New York City Blackout, and I stress THEE with importance because, I am one of the select few who can actually say she was 9 fuller than full months pregnant, in the sweltering August heat, with no air or cold foods. I will never forget my due date and subsequently, the date of the famous blackout. My husband was stuck at work but my family and I were sitting around, twiddling our thumbs, trying to will myself into labor. We figured hey, the hospitals had to have a/c off of generator power right? So now, to get into that hospital…
The week between then and August 22nd went slowly. Emily was smoked out at 41 weeks. I have a sneaky suspicion that if she wasn’t forcefully ejected, she might still be up in my womb. :P
I was 22 when I got pregnant and had Emily. My one goal in life: to start a family. I had no idea what exactly was in store for me. Motherhood has been the hardest journey and the most rewarding. I cannot believe how fast ten years have gone. CANNOT. It doesn’t seem possible. And yet here I sit, with a kid getting ready to turn double digits and I myself still feeling 21. How is this possible?
I was told not to eat anything prior to my hospital arrival but hey, I was dangerously close to breaking the 200 pound benchmark and I was going to sneak in some toast around 4am. Thank goodness I did because I wouldn’t eat again for almost 24 hours. I remember around 2am the following morning, after I had given birth, telling the nurse that I just wanted a cheeseburger! Nobody would get me one. The nerve.
I started laboring around 7:30am on Friday August 22nd. Twelve hours, a weak epidural and stalled at 7cm later, I had a C-section and we welcomed Emily Rae into the world at 8:34pm.
My life prior to that minute never really happened, did it? In many ways, my life began then, with my daughter’s. I was meant to be a mother. I knew this from my earliest memories. I can’t remember anything before her.
The nurses brought her into my room around 2am since I needed to recover and get into a bed first. I had both of my daughters at night and being a section patient, I usually don’t get to “meet” my kids for a few hours until I am in a bed and have feeling back in my legs. All of these silly rules. I’m not going to try to stand up and run away with the kid. Just bring them to me! I actually loved having them at night because I got to meet them first, with no one else around. I remember staring at Emily’s face. The whole thing was kind of surreal. I was 50% responsible for creating this…. human being? A living thing who is going to need me to make it in the world, at least until age 18. Well I’ll be. (Emily one day when you read this, ignore that I said 18. You can stay here until you are 67 if you like. In fact, I invite you to.)
And then, the next decade happened. Seriously, just like that. I remember everything because I have a wicked photographic memory and c’mon, I’m a scrapbooker so I preserve every memory a second time in print. ;) But still, none of those things helped to actually slow down time. In fact, three kids into this experiment called Gina’s Life and I still haven’t figured it out.
I remember dressing Emily up in the cutest outfits and taking DAILY pictures of her the first few months. Maybe the first entire year now that I think about it. We had absolutely nowhere to go but she always had on the cutest clothes. Usually with a matching hat.
Emily looking very French.
I remember her first word was “cat” at 8 months which is kind of weird since we’re not big cat people.
April 2004. 8 months.
I remember the time she fell on a toy wagon and ripped her tooth nearly out of her mouth. I was 9 months pregnant and hysterical in the ER with her. It was an awesome day. Except that it really wasn’t. I felt so guilty that she fell on that stupid wagon because I made her crawl for her sippy cup instead of getting it for her.
Emily learning to walk.
I remember how big she looked when we brought her little brother home. She was 13 months old and aged overnight.
Then the next few years get blurry because I had two babies at home and I was chief ringmaster of a very small, but very real circus.
I remember walking into a preschool in town I picked on a whim and enrolling her. We loved it there. I remember all of her concerts, her cute outfits, the sash she wore during her moving up ceremony and the pink mortarboard she wore when she “graduated”. I remember during this time frame she said she wanted “Clear stones like Grandma” in her ears which was her basically telling her father that she wanted a pair of diamonds. We had her ears pierced.
Here’s where it gets fuzzy: I remember putting her on a bus the first day of Kindergarten. I was 9 months pregnant with her sister and cried the whole time. I watched her little face pull away from me. And then the rest of elementary school happened and I seem to be back in this exact same place. In a few weeks, I’ll be putting her little sister on that same bus for the same first day of Kindergarten but the only thing is, the little girl I put on the bus in 2008 is going into 5th grade. It’s like I am doing a repeat only not. I’m like a cat with three lives and I’m on my last life. The clock is running out.
First day of Kindergarten.
Sure, I remember Emily’s picture days and the stuff she bought me at school boutiques, and her birthday parties, dance recitals, Brownie ceremonies, Lip Syncs, Field Days… but they seem to have flown by in the blink of my damn eye. I am not happy about it. I appreciate all of the events but I’m not happy about how fast they flew by me.
With my job as a photographer, I see so, so many little babies, 6, 7, 8 days old. I want to tell their mothers and fathers to hold tight because they are going to blink and this little baby will be starting school. Sometimes I do tell them. But it doesn’t help the sting I feel go away. It doesn’t make my time slow down. I’m not stupid. I know I’m only partially done. I still have time left. Moms of kids going off to college this year are probably thinking “You still have time left… enjoy!” And I will. But I also see just how fast the past decade has gone and I know without a shadow of a doubt that the next decade is going to fly by just the same. I take lots of pictures, I create scrapbook pages, I try to plan lots of fun stuff for the kids to do and our family as a whole but none of it really helps slow down time. We get 365 days each year but they still go by all too fast. It’s just a fact. We are powerless to stop it, unfortunately. I’m feeling sad about that today. I think everyone is allowed to feel like that from time to time.
So now Emily is days away from turning ten. Exactly one week actually. We have started calling her “The YouTube Kid”. She’s a riot. Anything this kid wants to learn, she teaches herself through YouTube videos. Crocheting a fishtail bracelet from mini rubberbands? Backbend? Beach dance scene from Teen Beach Movie? Thriftshop on the organ? Check x4.
I love watching her dance because it’s something we share together. I love watching her play lacrosse because it’s something I know nothing about and I’m kind of amazed at her talent. Right now she has no idea that I am typing this as she’s sitting at the dining room table applying some geometric nail art manicure. She’s like me: she can give herself a really good manicure, right and left hands. Emily reminds me of me… but better. She’s like my second chance. She has all of my good qualities and then some of her own unique ones and it just makes for one really great person.
What Emily doesn’t know is that she started this family for us. Maybe one day she will figure that out. While Andrew is special because he’s our only son and Grace is special because she’s our baby, Emily might think she’s special because she’s the oldest. And it’s fine for her to think that. Each of our kids has their place on the Miller Family Totem Pole. But what Emily doesn’t know, and won’t until she finds this Blog entry one day, is the way I really feel about her: that she was sent here, my gift from God, to get the Miller family started.
Happy birthday to my dearest Emily Rae. May you keep on dancing, keep on smiling and infecting people with your happy laugh & keep on running down the lacrosse field in your crazy socks. I will always be your mother but as you keep getting older, we are that much closer to also being the very best of friends. <3
Some random Emily shots through the years:
6 weeks old with her purple blankie. Ten years later, she still sleeps with it balled up under her head.
Emily at 4 months old with her NYPD Daddy (in the Fire Academy at this point).
Emily at 6 months old at her Daddy’s FDNY graduation.
Emily’s first time in Lake George.
Taking a stroll in her Aunt’s shoes. May 2005. A year and a half old.
Watching TV on my bed. December 2005.
Me and Emily, February 2006.
Sidewalk chalk. April 2006.
Memorial Day 2006
Helping Emily ride a bike (for one of the very first times) during her St. Jude Trike-A-Thon at school, October 2007. Now she zips past me on a 10 speed.
Emily, two months from age 5, graduates pre-school. June 2008
Emily loses her first tooth in Kindergarten at age 5 1/2. February 2009.
Dance, then and now.
Field trip to White Post Farm in Kindergarten.
First Father Daughter Daisy Dance. May 2009.
Spring 2009. 5 1/2 years old.
Getting a Princess makeover in Cinderella’s Castle. April 2010.
1st Holy Communion. May 2011
September 2011. Just turned 8 and started 3rd grade.
April 2012. My lacrosse star.
On the lacrosse field. April 2013.
Side-by-side 9 years apart.
(Official 10th birthday shoot to follow).