She lies on her bed, my seventeen year old daughter with her long curly blonde hair swept up into a messy top bun that looks exquisite. She has headphones plugged into her computer listening to music, she instant messages friends on her red phone and does her homework simultaneously. She doesn’t know I am looking at her and I hide the tears that start rolling down my face. She is a senior in high school; her criteria for looking for a college is for it to be “far and pretty” emphasis on far.
I’ve been through the college admissions process last year with her older brother. But, this child, this girl, is my baby, the one that clung to me like a little a warm nesting animal burrowed in my neck. This was the child who only wanted me and I was always there for her, picking her up when she screamed, soothing her at night. She called me “Mama.” Her first memory is being “sprung” from her crib by me and I remember that day as well. A small, eighteen month old child engaging me with her big blue eyes and devilish smile, she melted my heart instantly.
I miss the little girl she was. I wish I could scoop her into my arms like I used to when she was a child. Even a hug is asking too much, I know. I still remember how it felt though. I can’t remember what I did last night for dinner but the softness of her skin and her wet sloppy kisses on my cheek are unforgettable, as well as the sound of her infectious, devilish laugh.
My daughter knows what she wants at all times. When she was a mere child she planned her birthday parties three years in advance and never changed her mind. When she was younger she did ballet, wearing a pink leotard, a pink tutu, tights, and tiny beige ballet shoes. Her hair was in a bun covered by a pink, lacy barrette. If I had to recreate her in dance she would now be a modern dancer, leaping through the air like a gazelle, wearing scarves in vibrant colors, her hair loose and wild, moving with the music.
She is a vegetarian and always has been since she was a baby. When I tried to feed her meat baby food she spit it out immediately and laughed when it hit me on my face. To this day, she does not eat meat, she loves all animals, especially our dog. She shows the most affection to our dog whom she hugs and kisses and confides in. I love watching her long arms around our dog’s neck, whispering her confidences to her.
She is incredibly smart, private and can buy five outfits on the clearance rack that look gorgeous on her within three minutes. She takes after her grandmother when it comes to style, it definitely missed my generation. We do, on occasion, have our mother-daughter feuds. She will stare me down with those hardened blue eyes and say as condescendingly as possible: “you’re not wearing THAT are you?” or “what exactly are those pants you’re wearing, tell me they are not sweat pants!!” Sigh, and I thought I looked fashionable, I refused to change.
I will always be here for you, beautiful girl. I’m holding on to these last months when you still live at home. I can’t wait to see what second semester will bring: the prom, the senior musical, the college of your choice. I know you will have a lot of fun; be happy and know that I am happy for you.