Today my baby girl turns seventeen. Seventeen! She is not the baby of the family but she is my baby girl. She is out with Adam as I write, taking her driver's test. Time is sure rushing by.
A few weeks ago, at the Live to Love event, old friends reminded us how Gillian was in a rush to come into this world. We were having a Superbowl party - in March. I know that doesn't really make sense. We were scheduled to have a Superbowl party the day of the Superbowl but there was a huge snowstorm and our friends were coming from all over New Jersey so we canceled and rescheduled for a day in early March. It was at least six weeks before Gillian's due date - what could go wrong?
About midway through the afternoon, I came out of the bathroom and announced to my friends and Adam that my water broke. And like good friends do, everyone kicked it into high gear. Adam called the doctor's office, Jen came upstairs with me to pack a hospital bag, and Tom sat on the couch with two year old Sarah to watch a Barney video (ugh - Barney!). Friends packed the food away, did the dishes, straightened up the house, and within an hour my parents were there and we were off to have a baby!
I was in the hospital for a little less than a week. Gillian was early and they wanted to keep her in as long as they could to give her time for her lungs to develop. In the very early morning of March 7th they discovered that not only was Gillian anxious to come into the world, but she was upside down and backwards and there was no longer enough fluid to turn her around. So, we went in for a c-section and a few hours later we were blessed with a five pound baby girl.
Gillian's first year was not easy. Breastfeeding didn't happen, regular formula gave her reflux. We ended up feeding her "liquid gold". She didn't sleep at night unless she was in her car seat in her crib, always needed a pacifier, and had a tendency to nap for only a twenty minute stretch. But she loved laying on her blanket watching the trees and the shadows and she had a smile that would light up the room. After year one we realized she was going to need a bit of help meeting some milestones, so she had PT and speech therapy. And though she wasn't talking to us until she was much older, Gillian was always watching. She would listen and look, gathering information about the world around her.
Gillian has never stopped watching, listening, and looking. She has a keen sense of "what should be" and if a situation doesn't agree with her sense of right and wrong, she stays out of it. Loyal to her family, she learned to keep the peace between her brother and sister during the years when hostility ran high. She never really took sides, as each of them are incredibly close with her.
During more complicated days Gillian is often the voice of reason. She helps when a hand is needed and jumps in even when it is not. This year has brought moments when I have had to ask her to do things I never thought I would have to ask. And she does them. Without argument, question, or concern. When the task is done, she moves on. We still laugh and snuggle and she enjoys telling me the details of her day.
I write this today because it is Gillian's birthday, but also because I am learning that even those that aren't the squeaky wheels, those that watch and observe and don't make a fuss, those that help in times of need no questions asked - those people need to know that they are loved and valued and important.
She passed her driver's test. My baby girl who is no longer a baby girl has accomplished this milestone. She is happy and proud, but it is time to move on. A smile, a picture for posterity, and a hug from Mom and Dad. Now its back to school for a test, or pit orchestra practice, or...