I lost her infant and toddler years.
They are a blur of diapers and sleepless nights. A terminally ill father-in-law. Balancing home and work. All bear equal blame. I would tiptoe into her room at night - oh, so careful not to wake her - and peer into the crib, determined to memorize every sweet line in her face. I knew I would never forget. I was wrong.
I lost her preschool years.
On-going health issues and a number of surgeries stole them from me. I was so focused on building a new home that her first day of kindergarten sprung upon me like a jack-in-the-box. I heard the music and I knew it was coming, but I was still startled by its appearance.
I lost her elementary school years.
They are hidden among the ball practices and dance classes, homework, and church activities. We lived in 4-week increments of shift rotation - planning "girl time", trying our best not to wake Daddy, and looking forward to that one precious weekend each month when all three of us could be together.
I lost her middle school years.
Somewhere in the chaos of a husband losing his job, his returning to college, his finding a job, then Mama's passing...well, they are gone. I've searched the recesses of my brain, hoping to find some traces of their existence. They are faint at best.
I lost her high school years.
She learned to play field hockey and to drive, became comfortable with who she is, and discovered her passion for medicine. Preparations for college consumed all of us, as we waited to see what the Lord had in store. In two days - TWO DAYS! - she will turn that tassel and high school will be finished.
And just like that, her childhood blew away.