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“The days are long, but the years are short.” Whoever first said those wise words was certainly wise to the reality of raising children. A new adult arrived at my house this week. Greta turned 18 yesterday. As I reread that sentence, my breath catches and a lump forms in my throat. Huh? There must be some mistake. My first born child has just wrapped up her childhood? Incredible and impossible at the same time.
In honor of Greta’s big birthday, this post is about her.
Recently, as one might expect, my mind has been flooded with memories of Greta as a child. Much as it seems like a ‘blink’, the giant bank of memories tells me that she has been around for quite a while:-)
I guess it is time for her to be eighteen.
Whenever I pause to sift through the 'Greta moments' , one always stands out. This specific event highlights her very essence. Greta's giant, thoughtful, loving heart was especially evident on this particular day.
I’m a little blurry on the exact timing, but Greta was around six years old.
In our basement, I kept a container of ‘special’ gift wrapping supplies. The container held a collection of beautiful ribbons, ties and tags reserved for embellishing very important gifts.
One afternoon, Greta decided to do some type of ‘craft project’.
For the record...I come from the craft-projects-are-almost-always-too-much-trouble camp. My own mother, however, comes from the complete other camp...the-bigger-the-mess-the-more-fabulous-the-project! Thus, Grandma was always in charge of making things like Valentines and granola:-)
Anyway, Greta was busying herself with her project...while I was most certainly in the weeds with whatever her two little brothers were up to.
Greta was always incredibly well-behaved and mature. I knew I could count on her to ‘play nicely’ while I tended to the needs of the boys.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I have no recollection of the finished product.
I only remember that she helped herself to one of the ‘special’ ribbons.
She had chosen a piece of wine-colored organza ribbon.
She cut it in half.
For some reason, this sent me over the edge of parenting that day.
I freaked out.
Irrationally and loudly and cruelly.
I’m not sure if it was because she hadn’t asked. Or if I’d had an especially tough day with three kids under six. Or I had important plans for that exact strip of ribbon. Doesn't matter.
No excuses. I really messed up.
A while later, Greta appeared with the ribbon.
With pride and pure love, she presented it to me.
She had hand-sewed the two pieces back together to again form one long length of ribbon.
Revisiting this memory is painful. Heart-wrenchingly painful.
I’m still embarrassed by how terribly I’d reacted.
I hurt Greta and crushed her sweet spirit.
And in return, she worked to secretly repair the damage with small, sweet stitches.
The love in her gesture has blown me away ever since. I’m humbled by her kindness, which I surely didn’t deserve. With five deliberately placed stitches, she showed me that our teachers can be tiny.
Greta shared with me the incredible power of love...and it’s ability to heal.
I kept the ribbon tied softly around the rod in my closet for years. Seeing it was a reminder to choose kindness first.
I still have the ribbon. It’s tucked away in a box of treasures. It’s one of the trinkets that will survive every KonMari Method clean-out I ever perform.
This small strand of ribbon is a keeper.
Before I pulled the ribbon out to take a photo for this post, I casually (and cautiously) asked Greta what she remembered about the incident. I was afraid to hear her thoughts. I feared it would upset her to relive that day.
She smiled and looked a bit blank. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I don’t remember that at all”.
She went on to mention that she believed I was ‘making it up’.
I thought of the repaired ribbon safely tucked away downstairs.
And silently thanked the Universe for such grace.
I was sure Greta still wore the scars of that day. Thankfully, it seems I was wrong.
I’m blessed beyond belief to have this amazing human in my life. Being Greta’s mom is a true pleasure. I’m thrilled to be soaking it all in before it’s time to move her across the country for the next chapter.
Mamas...hug your babies close.
It. Goes. So. Fast.
Just for fun, here are a few more bits about Greta…
She loves stripes as much as I do, possibly more.
She dislikes Auntie Anne’s pretzels.
She speaks French.
She’s had Scarlet Fever.
She hated Paris on her visit. (Thankfully, that’s changed)
Her bedroom is always straightened up.
She spent years galloping instead of walking.
She was breech and born by Cesarean...12 days late!
For a few hours, her name was Amelia.
And here’s a link to my interview with Greta about fashion and style. It was part of a writing challenge posted while back. Missed it all? You can check out the entire series, 31 Days of Simple Style here.
Weekly Updates, here.
I hope this phase of your summer is lazy and lovely.
Thank you for following along and for letting me bask in all things Greta this week. I know my recent posts have been a bit more personal as a result of the current season of my life. Your continued support is the best. Sending you love.