Eighteen years ago I was in a delivery room at Patti A Clay Hospital in Richmond, Kentucky. I had gone almost a full three weeks past my due date and was ready to get the ball rolling and have me a baby. When she finally came rolling into this world, Amanda Nicole weighed almost ten pounds and immediately went into six month old clothes (so much for the little dainty newborn getups). Because she was born on Halloween, one of the nurses thought it clever to put her in an orange gown with a little green cap. She was my ‘punkin. Because of her size, the nurses thought it funny to line up the babies with Amanda in the middle and (according to height) the other babies lined on either side of her. I think the next largest baby was around seven pounds and a full couple of inches shorter. So, you get the picture.
As a baby, Amanda would sleep on my chest, arms and legs draped over each side of me. Our heartbeats were in tune with one another. We were in harmony. And though many would call it coddling, I found the two of us in that position many a night (until she was almost three or so) as she would fall asleep and I would watch TV. It allowed me to know that all was right with the world. However, at three, Amanda was three and a half feet tall. It became like a game of Twister, the two of us at bedtime.
Because of her height and my worries that she would stand out being so tall, I took Amanda to the Board of Education to have her tested for early placement in school.She passed and was on her way.It was with immeasurable pride this past June that I watched as she made her way through the school gymnasium and accepted her high school diploma.
To remember her as a small child, I see her as this bashful little girl who did not talk a lot.She had a mass of curly hair and these big brown eyes.She was good hearted to a fault.(Our first NYC Christmas found us coming into the city from Long Island to enjoy the windows, the tree, etc.There was a homeless man that my ex-husband tried to hustle us past.We got a few steps and I realize that Amanda did not have my hand.I turned to find her giving one of the three dollars she had in her pocket to this man and telling him Merry Christmas.That’s my Amanda.)She has loved her friends fiercely.On occasion she stood up for the little person who could not stand up for themselves.
To see my daughter as a young woman, I see all of those things and so much more. She is this amazingly creative and gifted photographer that anyone who sees her work says, “I know one of these days I will be leafing through a book of artists and there her pictures will be.” She is still selfless and good hearted (and hard headed). And I cannot help but wonder where this life will lead her. It will be good, I know that for sure.
I hope her blessings are many, her strifes few. I hope that life gives her rewards unique to her which will make her happy all through her days. She has the love of her mother which is unwavering. She is the human embodiment of my heart.
My pride, my joy, my baby girl.