Seventeen years old. My daughter. My girl. My peanut, bunny rabbit, boo boo nut, love bug, bunsy, baby girl. She sings, she writes, she laughs, she dances, she thinks, she cries, she reads, she dreams, she worries, she wishes, she paints, she plans, she listens, she lives.
I often say that my life was black and white and then I gave birth to my daughter and everything came into color. Full, bright, beautiful color. Like Dorothy leaving Kansas and entering Oz… color.
I didn’t know that morning at 6:05 am when I pushed her out into the world that soon after I would be raising her alone. I didn’t know that the courageous lion in me woke up that day and would have the strength and wisdom to leave a very scary relationship. I didn’t know much of anything. Except that everything – everything from that moment on was about her.
This new human who was here. Beautiful. Perfect. And mine to care for. To love, teach, feed, carry, stroll, rock, watch, raise.
I write stories every day. But no story will ever be as magnificent as the one about being her mom. Oh, the journey we have been on. The lessons, the laughter, the highs, the lows, the dancing.
And you watch as they go from the crawl to the walk to the run. Their limbs getting longer, their brains containing more and more information. Their backpacks heavier.
And you try not to cry as you walk past the hallway of pictures of summers gone by. Disneyland and pony rides, diapers and pacifiers, missing teeth and still sprouting hair.
Now she’s in the kitchen making dinner for us as she watches “Friends” on her laptop and wears one of your robes that fits her perfectly.
She’s tall and can reach the stove without a chair. She can use a knife to cut the watermelon without you. She cooks dinner far better than you ever did.
And just when you think you might dissolve inside because it all went too fast she reaches for your hand to dance and you see them…
Dimples. Dimples on her knuckles. Still there. Maybe forever. Hopefully forever.
And you dance.
The best story I will ever, ever know. Her.
This is, if you boil it all down, what life is really about.
I don’t have children. Trama of my youth scared me. Thought I would be hyper-helicopter parent on steroids, and implanted a GPS in their neck and super glued a webcam to the top of their head.
When I started writing ‘The Mason Dixon Lie,’ it was supposed to go a certain direction. But, it ended up being a story about parents & children and children & parents. It went it’s own way. Somewhere over some rainbow that I didn’t know was in there.
Your daughter is the reason we are all here.