19 years ago today, on this Groundhog Day, my little girl Sydney was born in a hospital in San Francisco. Having a child changes your life. You know it will change your life. People tell you, your life will never be the same. Even though we have no idea how it will change, we jump in, head first. It’s pretty remarkable to me how my life has changed in ways I never could have imagined.
Today is her birthday. She will wake up in the hospital. That is not what anyone wants to do on their birthday, but that is what will happen today. Sydney is battling severe depression and anxiety after a recent manic episode. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in October. She was in a bad emotional state and ended up at the ER on Friday. I am so thankful she is here with us today and will come home this afternoon.
Sydney is a fighter. She has worked so hard to be in her body and mind. Being Sydney has never been easy. She was a sensitive girl from the start. I saw signs that her emotions were fragile from her very first birthday. She was having the time of her life until everyone started singing “Happy Birthday” Her smiles turned to tears that wouldn’t stop. That was the beginning.
She was my first born. I had no idea what I was doing. I can’t really say that any of us do. We just do the best we can. Sydney was induced 10 days after her due date, I always knew she would do things her way and she has. Having Sydney taught me the art of being flexible. She has taught me nothing is in pen, always in pencil. I pride myself on my flexibility.
Sydney was different from my friend’s kids. I didn’t know anyone that dealt with the things I dealt with. It was scary, isolating and exhausting. Most people never saw the other side of Sydney. They saw the fun, smart, outgoing little firecracker. They didn’t see the anxiety and tantrums. I have had some really dark days and so has Sydney. This has been such a long journey for all of us.
The crazy thing is, I would not change a thing. Sure I sometimes fantasize about an easier life with no mental illness. What would it be like to parent a “regular” kid. Then I think of how special Sydney is and all of the things she has taught me. We were put together for a reason. We have a bond like no other. We are in this together and neither of us is giving up. I could not be more proud of who she is and who she will become.
Today, on my best girl’s birthday, I celebrate Sydney. She is smart, wickedly funny, beautiful, giving and strong. She is an open book, she is courageous. She is my hero. Happy Birthday Sydney.