Hope Wissel

Happy Birthday Belinda

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It is 7:59AM and exactly 26 years ago TODAY, my amazing daughter Belinda was born. I will forever remember the words of the doctor as he delivered my beautiful bald baby “she hasn’t done anything by the book and she probably never will.” Truer words were never spoken…

An expected premature baby who was 2 weeks late and was far from tiny – tipped the scale at 9 pounds 5 ounces and 21 inches long. Labor should have been hours long but was a mere 2 hours and 59 minutes. She continued to push forward by trying to lift her head while she was still in the hospital nursery. That should have been an indication that she would push the limits.

Fast forward 10 months, when she began walking. We had to teach her to crawl because the doctor told me it was important for her development. Just picture all of us crawling on the floor to play games while she walked around laughing at us. I tossed the baby books when she was off the charts in the first year. Bored in Kindergarten, she was never really thrilled with school. An average student who really thought school was for the social things. A gymnast, a field hockey player, a cheerleader, and an all star cheerleader – who would have ever thought that I would have had a Tom Boy!  Never one for dressing up, even as a child she was a jeans and flip flop kind of girl.

WHY was her big question.  I know it is for most kids but they eventually grow out of it.  She never did and for that I am grateful.  I am sure that many thought my child rearing was crazy.  She helped raise funds for the AIDS Alliance, and shared her things with those who were less fortunate.  We talked about EVERYTHING and I was blessed that as a result, she was a good kid.  I picked my battles and as a result, we had very few.

Today, I am a VERY proud momma. Belinda has just received a promotion at work to After Care Coordinator. The kids at Hawthorne love her and they gladly share the impact that she has had on their lives when they are ready to leave. Belinda will graduate with her Masters in Social Work in May 2015. Her frankness in any given situation makes me cringe but to know her is to love her. We always said that she had no tact – Don’t ask her opinion if you don’t want an HONEST answer. This kind of spirit has brought her great success with difficult children and dual diagnosed addicts. I am honored that she wanted to follow in my footsteps in the area of Social Work. She is blazing her own trail – making a difference in the world, one step at a time. She fights for causes she believes in regardless of what others think and has a heart of gold.

The miles between us are definitely too great – her in North Carolina and us in NJ but the bond is always there. Our family has grown with the addition of her step-dad, Rob. Our tag line of “you and me kid” will always be a reminder of our amazing journey when she was growing up. The good times and the bad, the struggles and the celebrations. I truly believe that God placed this strong-willed, loving child in my life for a reason – as her mom, I grew too and for that I am grateful.

The picture is from her trip home shortly after Superstorm Sandy.  She wanted to see how it had impacted the places that she loved – the beach, HER Ocean Grove and the boardwalk.  It was a rare moment when her emotions got the best of her.  See, despite the fact that I cry at the drop of a hat – Belinda seldom lets her emotions show.  It was a precious moment and I am glad that I got to be there when it happened.

Happy Birthday Belinda! I love you, kid!!!