My daughter turned 21 today. I’ve been a mother for 21 years. Before she was born, I wasn’t sure I ever wanted kids. I mean, I was a teacher and spent all day with 150 kids who belonged to other people. I wasn’t sure I needed any of my own.

But once my daughter was born, there was nowhere else I’d rather be than right there beside her. I was lucky enough to be able be there for every word, every step, every scraped knee, every laugh. We had such fun reading book after book at bedtime, singing songs, dancing and collapsing on the floor in fits of laughter. Those early days with her were some of the sweetest of my life.

When she was a teenager, her dad and I divorced, and we were here with her brother, dumbfounded and sad. Although I tried to put on a brave face, I wasn’t always successful, and my heartbreak bled into her life too. But it was in those darkest times that our bond solidified, and while I would never wish that pain on anyone, I’m grateful for the gift of closeness it brought.

As she’s moved into young adulthood, I’ve been amazed at her strength and resilience. I haven’t always agreed with her choices – what mother does? – but she has always managed to make lemonade out of lemons with her hard work and determination.

Now she’s 21, and I can’t believe it. I look back at baby photos and wonder at her little face and hands. I made that? That little miracle that grew up into this beautiful young woman? I’m humbled every day that I’ve been given this gift, this child, this daughter.

My first miracle.

Happy Mamaversary to me.

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