Today my oldest daughter turns 24 years of age. I drink her a toast with my morning coffee, staring out the front window at the sunlit tips of the trees. How the years go by, so quickly... so quickly. Yet it does not seem like yesterday that she was born, it seems like another life. A baby, a miracle of dreams, was borne to me in my youth. And like my youth that baby is gone, a tender memory to be carried through life.
The news that I was pregnant came over the phone one sunny afternoon, the results of a laboratory test were positive. Powerful events etch themselves into the story of our lives. Well aware at the time that this was such an event, I marveled at how quiet and peaceful the extraordinary moment can seem.
Those months of pregnancy were wonderful. I took a long, leisurely walk every day through the tree lined streets of the small town where we lived. The pregnancy progressed, as did the autumn; I walked through arbors of brightly colored leaves and crisp air each day. The baby was healthy and active. My only physical complaint was heartburn.
I remember the day she was born. On Monday morning the doctor, during a regular appointment, informed me that I had begun to dilate. The baby was about to be born. He sent me home to gather my case and my husband and met me later at the hospital. Labor began slowly, building slowly. Tuesday afternoon, my daughter entered the world, eyes open and observant from the first.