The Happiest Day of My Life by Diane PerkinsToday is the anniversary of the happiest day of my life. Today is my daughter’s birthday. Oh, I have had other glorious days in my life. My wedding day--but I was young and terrified that day. The day my son was born--but I already knew from having his sister that I would love him to distraction. That new discovery belonged to her day alone. When my daughter was born I was in a hospital room with a new mother who was more delicate than I. I was so happy I couldn’t stay down, so I was constantly rolling her bed up or rolling it down or some other favor she needed. When the babies were not in our room, I’d wander to the window of the nursery and gaze at my daughter, all pink with huge blue eyes. Strangers called her beautiful. I remember months later taking her to the pediatrician’s office and having another mother say I should have her be a baby model. She’s grown now, but when I see her unexpectedly, like recently when I visited NYC and she met me at the hotel, she takes my breath away.
Other memories endure. Late night feedings, just her and me, as if no one else existed in the world. Lullabies needed well into her third year, solidifying both our reputations as night owls. Her first birthday when she got one of those push-popping toys, which she pushed with great intensity all the day and never picked up again. Her pulling clothes off her dolls and dressing her stuffed animals. In the grocery store at age three or so, pretending I was Grandma, until a woman stopped me to say I was the youngest looking grandma she ever saw. Sleeping in her grandmother’s arms at her brother’s baptism. The two of us wandering the cathedral in Savannah, a rare moment alone on a rather stressful girl scout trip. Hearing her sing a solo from The Little Mermaid in elementary school. Or, similarly, on tour with Princessed, her high school rock band. Or exploring Seattle together--visiting the Sound Garden. Taking her and her girlfriends to the mall or the movies. Sitting in the same room when she had an MRI. Sitting at a table at my in-laws and watching her eyes light up when she asked me if I believed in telepathy or something, and I said, “Oh, I believe in everything.” Shopping. Having lunch. Staying up late. And now Instant Messaging. I treasure all the moments.
And, like that very first day, I still wish I could ease all her hurts, prevent any pain. But I can't. She is living her own life, experiencing her own joys and struggles and heartaches.
I have few regrets in my life. I certainly don’t regret my career or my education. I believe everything I’ve done has led me to my life today, living my dream of writing Romance Novels, seeing my books in print. But I often wish I’d given it all up and stayed home with my children, instead of moving into the bigger house, getting the newer car, working full-time. Think how many more memories I would have now.
If you ever have a choice, choose family. Choose your children. Nothing matters as much.
Here’s a picture of my daughter--an old one...