Small Town Firsts

To be honest…I’m really not that good of a parent.  I have no idea what either of my first kids’ words were (mama? dada?) and I don’t remember when they took their first step.  I always forgot about the Tooth Fairy…because, let’s be honest…who the heck has cash on them at 10:00pm when your kid’s first tooth falls out? And although, like all good moms from the 2000s, I have a Creative Memories scrapbook chronicling the first few years of my 1st-born’s life, by the time my second kid came around, I made one page for him. ONE PAGE. And that was it…I was exhausted.

Pre-Instagram photo from the JCPenney photo studio

Honestly, it wasn’t until Pinterest and Instagram that I realized how much I sucked at protecting my child’s memories.  I mean, honestly, I had no idea that I should be taking a picture of my child every month with a swirly-fonted caption indicating their age and their accomplishments.  Had I known, I would have had plenty of cutesy photos that said: 

Kaitlyn, aged 4 months: eats cereal, cries a lot, probably a genius.

Instead, I took my child to the JC Penney photo center and had portraits taken that included a fake snowflake background and a weird fluorescent flashbulb that made her cry. *Sigh*

So here’s the thing…I don’t remember a lot.  I don’t remember the first smile or the first laugh, or the first potty training session.  I don’t remember the first full night’s sleep or the first time she ate real food…but today? Today I’ll remember.  Today was the first time that my 18-year-old daughter voted…and I will remember it forever.

She texted me the night before the election to ask me the following questions:

  • Who are you voting for governor?
  • How about Senator?
  • Have you read their websites?
  • How do you feel about the Great Lakes Initiative? What about Proposal 1?
  • Why do you feel the way you do?
  • Have you thought about it this way?
  • What about the tax proposal?
  • Where do you stand?
Proudly sporting her “I Voted” sticker.

Oh. My. Word.

I wanted to cry.  And not because I realized that we were going to vote differently on several issues, but because I WAS SO DAMNED PROUD.  Seriously.  My 18 year old daughter was exercising her right to vote, and instead of sitting back and letting others tell her what to do, she studied the candidates and the ballots and voted her conscience.  I have never received a text that I am more proud of than this:

“I have decided I’m not voting for republican or democrat, I’m voting for the general good.”

Tears. Actual tears.

Because here is the thing.  I’ve made mistakes.  I’ve forgotten to record memories, and take important pictures (my kid has never gotten a yearbook) and make artsy pinterest posts.  I sometimes forgot to make a Halloween costume until the morning of trick-or-treating (the Cowgirl incident of 2007) and I can’t find any pictures between 2004-2006 when the digital camera came into play but wasn’t easy to use.  I’ve forgotten to buy Easter baskets and I can’t remember what she wore on her first day of Kindergarten…

But that’s ok.  Because I will always remember the moment when my little girl exercised her right to vote…not because I told her to, and not because she felt obligated…but because she decided to be a part of the political process and take advantage of the greatest right that she has been given by growing up in America.  And as this election season winds down, and as talk about candidates and proposals, and who voted for whom finally comes to an end (for the next 6 months at least), I will recognize that my little girl…the one whose first word was probably “cat” and whose first step was probably around the age of one…has become a full-blown adult (I mean…I still make her dentists appointments for her) but still…in my (scrap)book, that’s the biggest milestone yet.  

With Lots of Love from a mom-of-an-official-voter Small Town Girl