Taryn Layne, born on the morning of December 7th, 2001, exactly 17 years ago today. I remember getting my bedroom prepped for birth, taking care that it would be a space I could relax in and feel at peace. I remember a 4am contraction that started it all, yet it was another 28 hours before you came. It was a very long day and night for both of us. I labored every which way to get you out. 8lb 10oz but not too big by any means, yet we were definitely stuck for a long time. I remember the older girls coming into my bedroom to check if I “had that baby yet?” We thought we were going to need to transport to the hospital, but I was finally able to bring you forth after 3 hours of pushing. You were blue and purple and I strained my ears for your first cries. Finally, you came to and the rosy pink color came as well, and I knew you were going to be OK.
You cried nonstop for 6 months (I promise it gets better) and the next 3 it tapered off a bit. I imagine it was the hard birth, but very trying times. When the colic left I began to see your personality bloom. You were quite pleasant and happy. By your toddling years, I found you to be entirely entertained. You were messy, and goofy, and smiley. Oh, and an artist who featured her work everywhere (especially on your legs). You were clumsy but in the most endearing way. I don’t know how many times you fell out of a chair doing nothing, but we realized you were just often times caught up in your own make believe world. You were so content there.
As you grew older, we saw your imagination unfold. There was evidence of your play everywhere. You’d steal away into your happy place then re-emerge with something wild and outlandish. I knew you had the mind of a creative. You also had a mercy heart that forever interceded for the hurting. You’d place yourself in between siblings in trouble, not able to bear it. It could be trying for us as parents, but we saw your heart was deeply bent towards mercy. You were tender.
I enjoyed your love of old things and old ways. Prairie play was the norm. Mothering was your strength. Your baby dolls were real (mine were, too, at that age) and you took thoughtful care of them. I saw a brilliant mind and a vibrant heart in your glowing blue eyes, and a silly mess, as well. You never embarrassed, and never took yourself too seriously. These are priceless qualities.
Then suddenly you were a teenager. And you looked it. That baby face now sports the features of a young beautiful woman. Stunningly beautiful and still full of silliness. Your ability to do impersonations, of just about anyone, slays me. There is no accent you have not mastered, or mannerisms you have not perfected. I often wonder if other moms laugh this hard at their own kids. You’re just plain hilarious, and I know this is what your friends enjoy about you, too. You can sing like a boss, dance like nobody’s business, and create like it’s second nature. Also, your ability to retain and repeat back information is impressive. A photographic memory. I assume this is how you are able to retell stories with such precision and honesty, that I feel I am there. It’s rare, this gift.
What I wish for you on this day is what I wish for you every day: to know how valuable you are to so many, how beloved, special, and set apart you are; how beautiful inside and out; how much life and potential that is yet to be realized. It’s all within and before you. Don’t be afraid to live fully. Be sure to hush the voices that would convince you otherwise. You’re just too incredible to live any other way.
Happy 17 years of surviving with me as your mom, and five other siblings. It’s no small feat! We love you dearly, as the gift and treasure you are. ❤️