A decade ago today, I gave birth to my second daughter and as it happened, my last child, Mira Justine Israel. I remember wondering before she arrived whether I could possibly love her as much as her older sister. But the second I held Mira in my arms, I discovered, as all parents do, that you don’t divide your heart between your children but instead, you grow another heart each time a new baby comes along and each fills to bursting. Plus, though she didn’t make me a mom, Mira made me the mom of sisters, and for me (one of four girls myself) there has been no greater pleasure than watching my daughters’ relationship blossom (even if it means that I’m the butt of many of their pranks or have to play the heavy when the late night chatter-chitting or after school screaming matches don’t end).
After Mira was born, I gave up my part time nanny and decided to cut my practice down further. I vacated the downtown DC office that I’d proudly occupied for seven years partly because I wasn’t using it, but also because with my reduced schedule, I could scarcely afford it. Moving the boxes to my makeshift home office (at the time, a small desk in the corner of the living room), I felt like a failure for the first time in my eight years of solo practice, as if I were moving backwards.
But in truth, life only moves forward and and we have keep pace. I forced myself to start again, to seek out and create new opportunities for myself that I could fit into my shorter workdays because I knew that someday, my daughters would grow. I just didn’t count on how quickly a decade could fly by. Happy Birthday to my sweet, smart ten year old Mira. I know it’s your day, but I’ll also savor the gift that I gave myself when you were born: that I hardly missed a single minute.