32 years ago, Tiffany was born. She was my first niece (or nephew) and my parents’ first grandchild. It goes without saying that everyone in our family was over-the-moon.
Other than holding her for the first time, my clearest memory of that day is when I was finally allowed into the recovery room to see my sister, her mother, for the first time after Tiffany’s birth. Due to extenuating circumstances, my sister, Gail, gave birth completely naturally. While this was an increasing trend in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s, this was not her final choice. But, as we all know, bumps occur on the road to life and throughout life and this was one of those bumps.
Anyway, when I entered the recovery room, Gail was sitting in bed at about a 75 degree angle, propped up by pillows and the mechanical bed. Her eyes closed, her face a pale yellow, with her arms lying on each side of her body and her palms face up – kind of like a limp dish rag whose life had been rung out of her.
She opened one eye and looked at me, grimacing. Then she opened two and moaned, “They lie to you! They lie to you! Natural childbirth IS NOT the most wonderful thing in the world! It’s horribly painful! I’ll never do it again!” Then, she closed her eyes again.
So, ladies, I’m here to tell you that the miracle of childbirth is a big, deep, dark secret until you experience it for yourself. Society, human biology and memory have collectively joined forces to keep the dark side of the miracle under wraps so that women will continue to reproduce. Otherwise, why would we put ourselves through that torture?
Well, Gail was almost true to her word about not having another. She didn’t have another child for 12 years until she had Tiffany’s younger sister, Samantha.
So, Tiffany was virtually raised as an only child. She will tell you that she was raised by a “village” because there were many people contributing to her development as she grew – her mother and father, of course, me, and her maternal grandparents. When she was 9, her father remarried and Tiffany’s stepmother, Patti, became a loving and guiding influence in her life too. Patti brought with her a daughter and a son, giving Tiffany siblings for the first time. I’ll never forget the day I learned about the siblings (and her father’s remarriage). We (me, my sister and Tiffany) were all over at my parents’ house for dinner and Tiffany started talking about her sister this and her brother that. I thought maybe she had imaginary friends, as children sometimes do. This went on for a short while and then I interrupted her and said, “Tiffany, you don’t have a sister and brother.”
She huffed up her little 9-year-old self and declared, “I do too!” Then Gail told me the rest of the story. And, a few years later, Tiffany’s half-sister, Samantha was born rounding out her large multiple family of families.
From day one of Samantha’s birth, Tiffany adored her. But, with a 12 year age difference, their relationship is different from the one Tiffany has with her step-siblings, who are both a year older and a year younger than Tiffany. While the age difference between Tiffany and Samantha is significant, it hasn’t lessened their bond.
Tiffany is a great mother. The love she has for her two daughters is undeniable and palpable. She’s nurturing, attentive, gentle, yet firm, and uses such tactics as “girls, use your inside voices,” when the girls are loud. Not being a mother myself, her parenting skills have been a pleasure to watch. How did she learn that? While the Princesses P aren’t perfect (they’re 5 and 2½), they are sweet, loving, happy, well-mannered children with the normal energy level, exuberance and inquisitiveness of children their age.
In addition to her motherhood skills, Tiffany is a great sibling, daughter, granddaughter, niece, great-niece and cousin to many. And, she has many, many friends – some since high school. So, her plate is very full; but, somehow, she makes time for all of us.
On top of managing and nurturing all of these relationships, Tiffany has creatively figured out how to be a “stay-at-home Mom” and contribute to the household income. She has 10 balls in the air most of the time and rarely drops one.
She said to me the other day, “You know you’re getting old when your birthday is just another day!” But, I’m here to tell Tiffany, and all of my other wonderful nieces and nephews scattered around the country, that your birthday isn’t just another day – it’s the day you became a part of my life and I am grateful.
So, Happy Birthday, Tiffany! You are one amazing women (it’s still hard to wrap my head around that you ARE a woman) and I love you and am so very proud of the wonderful, interesting, loving, smart, clever and special woman who you’ve become. Thank you for taking a chance and partnering with me by jumping out into the blogging world!
P.S. Tiffany’s husband, Chris, is a great dad. But, this post is all about Tiffany because it’s her birthday!
Here are some pictures of Tiffany (and family) through the years:
Baby Tiffany 1980
Gail and Tiffany 1981
Tiffany and her father, Joel, 1991
Tiffany and her sister, Samantha, 1993
Tiffany and her grandfather (my dad), 1995
Tiffany, Samantha and Gail, 1998
Tiffany and Samantha at Disneyland, 2001
Samantha, Tiffany and their cousins (also my nieces), Melissa and Nicole – 2004
Tiffany and Gail – 2007
Tiffany and her daughters, Princess Sweetie Pie and Princess P – 2012
Oh, what the heck! Here are a couple of pics of Tiffany’s husband, Chris, with the Princess P in days gone by – he’s a great dad!
Chris playing with Princess P – 2008
Chris eating pizza and watching the game with Princess P – 2008
Chris reading to Princess P – 2009
Hope you enjoyed this trip down Tiffany’s memory lane!