By: Mia L. Hazlett
Almost 18 years ago, I had my “Firstborn”. She is my favorite “Firstborn” because, I gained no weight, retained no water, and there were no sleepless nights. So the other day I found myself near tears when I read on her Facebook Wall that it was her last day of high school – ever! Now I realize I’ve mentioned my 10 year-old and 6 year-old, but there was a special little girl who came first, my “Firstborn,” otherwise known as my BFF’s oldest.
I remember pacing Brockton hospital waiting for her to enter the world. Didn’t really think anything about it until the first time I met her in my friend’s basement apartment. She was wrapped tight in a tiny white blanket asleep in her crib. I was experiencing a love I had never felt before. I didn’t even know what it was, but boy did I piss my friend off when I reached down and woke her up so I could see her eyes. “Did you just wake her up?” she yelled from her living room. “Uuumm, I just wanted to see her eyes.” It didn’t go like it did in my head, but after the crying died down, I cradled her and rocked her back to sleep. “Are you gonna put her back in the crib?” “Nope. I’m holding on to her forever.” “Do what you want. I’m going to sleep. Don’t wake me up.” I went into the living room with her and held her until my friend woke up. That was my first day with my niece.
Time progressed and I took her every chance I could get. She used to come to my Advertising and Marketing classes with me, when I was still in college. Once I graduated I moved to Brockton to be close to her and my BFF. Two days later they moved away to California. I completely understood why my friend had to leave, but it broke my heart to say goodbye to my “firstborn.”
Luckily my BFF returned months later with my little baby. My apartment was decorated with traces of her little face in every room. It never occurred to me that when people visited my apartment for the first time, they would start looking for her. I had so many pictures of her, they thought she was mine. As time went on and me an my BFF put our big girl panties on and became adults, she moved to Houston, TX and I moved to Alexandria, VA. She was only four when she left me.
For the next twelve years I watched her grow up in pictures, over the phone, and through stories about her from my BFF. When my life came crashing down, I moved in with my BFF and reunited with my baby. She was so grown. She wasn’t the same little girl who used to run away from her house, all the way to mine (20 feet away). She would come over, eat peanut M&Ms and we would watch the Rugrats. Now we sat on the couch and watched 16 & Pregnant and if she didn’t bring her stupid mother, Shutter Island would have been scarier. She was no longer singing the Barney I Love You song as I drove her to my house. Instead, she was driving me because she just got her driver’s permit.
So I sat in front of my computer the other day reading about her last day of high school and wondered, when did I give her permission to grow up? I mean I had heard about her on the daily, but I wasn’t ready to read that, nevermind look at her senior prom pictures. My “Firstborn” is a beautiful young woman now. Next year she’ll be attending college and maybe in a few years…if I’m ready to accept it, she’ll be an adult. But I don’t care how old she gets, she’ll be my little ‘Yana waiting for the Rugrats to come in with a mouthful of M&Ms.
I love you ‘Yana. I’m so proud of you precious. You’ve become such an incredible young woman. The world is a better place because you are in it.