Hau‘oli Lā Hānau to Kid1, 12. Happy Birthday, Kiddo!

A happy Kid1 with her "Let Them Eat Cupcakes" guava cupcake and candle. Photo by John Bender, aka @AlohaJohn.

@postaday 261; #postaday2011.

If you are my friend on Facebook and you have a birthday, I always try to put Hau‘oli Lā Hānau on  your wall, especially if you live far away. It’s Hawaiian for Happy Birthday. It’s my way of showing my appreciation for Hawai‘i, my home for more than 30 years. It’s a little Aloha Spirit sent in your direction.

Today is Kid1’s birthday. I love this day and I love Kid2’s birthday. Moms have every right to enjoy their children’s birthdays. After all, we were there, RIGHT? I was telling my girls last night that I still remember giving birth, as both of them were delivered naturally. I remember Kid2 feeling like a train coming down and out…a slow, giant train, LOL. I had to hold back when it was her time, the doctor said I was pushing too fast. I guess I wanted to get it over with.

John and I went over to Kaiser Moanalua 12 years ago 10 p.m. the night before and walked the halls because I was hardly dilated. It’s true, when it’s your first child, you really think that is the moment when it’s actually hours and hours and hours away. That’s a lot of mileage in hospital halls and stairways.

My water secretly broke for Sophie. It popped, and her little head stopped it like a cork. So that was kinda weird. I didn’t even know it! Giving birth for the first time is a mixed bag of experiences. Don’t be a baby when you’re having a baby, because it’s all about the baby and now you’re no longer entitled to act like a baby for the rest of your life. Man up. Or, maybe I should say, WOMAN UP because Man Up isn’t nearly as demanding. LOL. Putting a baby to your breast for the first time is a very weird thing to do, too. All this stuff you have to do on faith. Lo and behold, your body functions in the way it was designed, eventually.

So I remember things. She was born the Year of the Rabbit on the Chinese calendar, so she has a lot of bunny stuff, even a commemorative stamp. I remember sitting her down in front of the TV for the first time to watch an Elmo Xmas special. OMG, she was riveted. She’d sit upright in her playpen and watch Sesame Street, a sponge concentrating on all of the input, processing it as fast as she could. I remember putting her down for a nap, going into the living room to collapse in my chair only to be startled when she woke me up and proudly hollered “ABC!” in my face! She had climbed out and came over to me. Nap times are really for moms. Kids just don’t get the memo.

Now she’s a budding scientist, is helping a University of Hawaii graduate student with his dissertation on asteroids, plays viola and piano, skipped a grade way back when, and is the site manager for all things apple at home. She’s younger than her peers, but she’s mature beyond her years, and her sister Kid2, and John and I are very proud of her.

It’s a difficult thing for me to see that she is 12 years old. Children grow so fast. Her childhood is so different from mine, and I’m glad of that. I hope her future is, too.

My kids are my gift to the world. Wait until you see what they can do! And yes, all of our children are gifts to the world. Malleable treasures, all. We are their stewards. Parenting is a tough road. But I wouldn’t take a step backward for anything!