Once you’ve raised a child you figure out quickly what unconditional love really means. With Parenting, every moment is a work in progress AND it’s always another ordinary day in a not so ordinary life. ~Frances Best Stanfield
A Birthday Tribute to our Daughter
RACHEL ALEXANDRA STANFIELD
27 years ago today our daughter was born and our lessons in parenting began. We should have known that we were going to have our hands full when she was born at 7:59am and not straight up 8 o’clock.
Prior to her birth, my husband Reginald and I pondered baby names. If it were a boy, his name would be Reginald Stanfield, II. Never Jr., the “second” was far more distinguished (according to Reginald). If it were a girl, my husband came up with a couple of take offs of the Porsche, his favorite car at the time. I reeled that in and moved us closer to a more practical choice, Regina Morgan. Get it? Reginald/Regina. We settled on Rachel Alexandra Stanfield. Not Rachael, Rachelle, or Racheal but R-A-C-H-E-L . Sorry God, we did not think about Rachel in the Bible. Also, it’s Alexan(dra), not Alexan(dria) (that’s Reginald’s pet peeve). We struck gold. The name we chose would look good on the resume and as an added bonus, she would be able to spell and pronounce it.
On a snowy day, after 28 grueling hours of labor, January 22, 1987, 7:59am (not 8 o’clock but 7:59, LOL) Rachel Alexan(DRA) Stanfield was born at Georgia Baptist Hospital (currently Atlanta Medical Center) in Atlanta, Georgia.
The journey began on that cold day in January. As with parenting any child, the road has not always been easy. It’s life and it’s not perfect. There have been ups and downs; tears and laughter; joy and pain; achievements and disappointments; and sickness and health. We realized raising a daughter wouldn’t be a piece of cake (and it wasn’t); however, if we had it to all over again, we would. Love is unconditional and even though daughters are hard on any level, I sure do miss my Rachel when she’s not around and worry tremendously when I can’t put my hands on her (no pun intended).
My Lesson in Parenting Begins
Follow me as we journey through the life of our daughter:
Rachel was a spunky baby, raising her head at three months old. Those fat cheeks were to die for. Muuah!
One of those famous J.C. Penney pictures before digital technology. Pooh wasn’t the favorite stuffed toy but was what we could get our hands on for the pic.
We took a Christmas pose yearly at J.C. Penney. We never missed a year so this is just one I put my hands on. Every family had these back in the 90s.
Lawd, here we are in the family pool again. I was so glad when the day came that Rachel forgot about it and I didn’t have to play lifeguard. The things we do for our children.
Dad and Rachel having play time. She had to be 2 because we were still in the old house which we lived in until she was 3.
Don’t let that cute little face fool you. This was the school year we got a call from the daycare that Rachel never made it on the after care van so the driver had to leave without my baby. Yeah, my husband hurriedly left work to help in the search for Rachel. The Amber Alert law was not in existence just yet. We found her!!! Gallivanting downstairs of the school with best friend T.G. (Rachel, you know who that is) from nursery school. Her dad asked her if she had any idea how worried we were to which she responded, “Did you cry?”. Um. She endured the first of many punishments.
Ahhhhh, 4th grade. See that face? Nuff said.
Proud dad and Rachel at her Girl Scouts father daughter dance. As parents, you have to attend these events. In fact, the elementary school did not have a Girl Scout troop so another parent and I started one so our daughters could experience Girl Scouting. We were committed from first grade until they lost interest around 5th or 6th grade. The things we do for our daughters.
We managed to pose for this picture somewhere around Rachel’s middle school years. We made peace long enough for the flash. If you have a daughter, then you just don’t start being cordial with each other until at least their 20s.
She’s almost grown up. Junior prom. Things are so different these days. She and the girls went to prom together. What happened to having a date? #newday
May, 2005, Rachel graduated from high school and went on to West Georgia College. I won’t go further. The rest is her story to tell.
So here we are, The Stanfield family. We have raised our daughter. A whole lot of trial and error coupled with a whole lotta love. Just so you know, despite what your children say, you never stop raising your children. At the time, we didn’t realize that your kids really never go away. As much as they want and love their independence, they always come back and I’ve accepted that. It’s just another ordinary day in a not so ordinary life of a parent.
Rachel, may your 27th birthday be one of your most memorable. Love endures forever.
Love Always, Mom and Dad
Side note: Recently Rachel told me the other day that she was raised that love is unconditional. Lawwwwd, they do learn. That statement let me know that SHE KNOWS what “unconditional love” really looks like.
Do you have a life lesson that has manifested itself through your children?