Just when you think that there is nothing sweeter than holding your newborn in your arms, she grows into a toddler, and your heart grows with her. And when you know that there is nothing more adorable than seeing her toddle, than hearing her speak her first words and then form her first sentences, she learns to read and write, and becomes a young artist. And you are sure that no 5 year-old child on the planet has ever created such masterpieces. And with each passing year, each dance recital, she looks a little more like a real dancer until one day you realize she is tap dancing like Marie Osmond.

Becoming a Mom, for me, means becoming the person I was always meant to be. It's as if there are all these places and pieces of myself locked away in a treasure chest with several compartments. And each of my daughters has a key that opens up a new part of me.

The joy of raising young children is followed by the wonder of watching them become: developing their own senses of humor, style, talents and temperaments. I'm sharing this poem that my oldest daughter, Katelyn, wrote about the day she was born. It is beautiful, and quite honestly, far better than anything I could have written about that day. Because while the day of her birth was amazing, it was not the grande finale. It was only the beginning of her becoming.

Beginnings: September 1998

As autumn leaves begin to change
to brilliant reds,
fiery oranges,
and yellow-greens,
gently drifting down from treetops,
I come along.
I come out kicking,
doing a little jig,
a preview of a young lady,
doing kicks so high
I fear I might hit my face.
Feet gliding,
Footwork so complicated
I can’t wrap my head around it
half the time.

Mom says I was the prettiest baby she ever saw,
but in my opinion,
she only says that
because she’s my mom.
She says
it was the longest night of her life
considering she checked into the hospital
in the afternoon,
and didn’t have me
until nine-fifty the following morning.
Ever since then,
I have slept until about

At birth,
for the first and last time in my life,
my size was above average.
With eyes like coffee,
and hair like toffee,
just like my dad,
and a taste for reading,
just like my mom,
I am me.

A fondness for numbers
and logic puzzles,
inherited from neither parent,
is uniquely mine.
My comments are as dry as the desert
and as numerous as the grains of sand within them.
And my parents have given up hope
of making me talk less
because they know it’s useless.

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