That's my daughter on her first birthday. She had just taken her first shaky steps, and when we applauded, she clapped along with us. I don't think she knew what the big deal was; she was just glad to see us all so happy.
After my experience with my son, I was prepared for a lot of sleepless nights when Rachel arrived. It didn't happen. She was a serene, contented baby who slept through the night at an early age. It didn't take a lot of rocking or bouncing to get her to go to sleep. All I had to do was lay her in her crib, and she'd coo and babble until her eyes closed.
Rachel was a loving baby: by the time she was two or three months old, when I'd put her on my shoulder to burp her, she'd pat my back as I patted hers.
She has always loved to have people around her, unlike her "loner" mom. Until she was six, we lived in places where there were no close neighbors. So when we moved here, with kids on all sides, she was beside herself with joy!
Rachel got her affectionate, people-loving nature and much of her emotional makeup from Cliff. She got just as many personality-traits from me, including one or two of my weaknesses.
She's turned out to be a great mom with the patience of Job. I don't recall ever hearing her yell at her kids. She's a good step-mother, making sure that Kevin's son, Jonathan, gets to spend some quality time alone with his dad once in awhile, since he lives some distance from here.
As I write about each of my children and grandchildren, here's what I want you to know (of course moms and grandmas understand this anyway): You might look at my child and see a run-of-the-mill, average adult. But I see them as they were at every stage of their lives. I see them taking their first steps, going to school, learning to drive... I still recall how they felt in my arms, as infants. The defense mechanisms that are built into a mother's system don't go away.