Well, my daughter liked her room, thankfully. It’s kind of funny; she takes after me in that she’s not overly excitable. No jumping for joy or anything. She said, oh! Ah…that’s so cool! I have bookshelves! And that was about it. But I know she’s happy with it. Actually, what was even sweeter was her reaction when I picked her up when she got home from the airport. Then she very enthusiastically threw up her hands and hugged me happily. And admitted that she missed me. That I’m grateful for.
Since I’ve gotten some grief for not sharing pictures, here’s what I spent my week on. Its not visible, but I built the bed frame so it would accommodate a trundle underneath. And she loves to read, so my intent was to give her a reading nook to escape to. My daughters room before (essentially) and after. Sorry, my pictures aren’t great.
I had allergy testing patches put on my back yesterday and had to leave them on through today. I go back to the doctor tomorrow morning to see what may show up. It’s been a bit uncomfortable. There is one definite spot that has been itching, and I’ve been instructed not to scratch. I also cannot get the patches wet, which meant careful bathing and no sweating. In the hot sun. I ended up not going to work so I could be uncomfortable at home instead. That also allowed me time to hang out with my youngest who hasn’t been home much lately. We worked on a couple of house projects and went out to lunch. She knows that I want to redo her bedroom when she’s gone in July so she periodically bugged me about it today. I had fun giving her absolutely no clues as to my plans. All she has seen are a couple of end tables someone at work gave me that I will be converting into a desk. And last week we bought a purple velvet vanity chair from The Salvation Army. She was a little frustrated at my insistence on keeping things a a secret. But I love surprises. And projects. So I’m looking forward to that. Tonight she and I ended the day by making popcorn and chocolate shakes and watching old episodes of Dr. Who. I’m thankful we had time to spend together. And I can’t wait to get to the doctor in the morning.
Tonight I went to a high school sports banquet for my youngest daughter. It wasn’t exactly how I was hoping to spend my evening. First of all, I was mislead by the term banquet. There really was no food. Well, there were snacks of some sort afterwards, but each sports team met individually after the event and my daughter’s coach talked so long that we missed out on all of it. By the time we got home after 9:00 pm, we were so hungry we simply stood in the kitchen raiding cupboards and the fridge for whatever looked good. Thankfully, I’ve cut back on buying junk food, so dinner wasn’t a total disaster. I found some Triscuits, cheese that wasn’t too dried up, dried cranberries, and a few celery sticks. And a handful of Skittles for balance. Not the best meal after spending my evening with a room full of athletes, I know.
The other part of the banquet that made it less enjoyable was knowing that my daughter wasn’t there to receive an award. It was really an awards ceremony for the seniors or those on varsity teams, and my daughter is neither. She’s a sophomore and a first-year track team member. But they required all team members to go for team support, and my daughter wanted me to go. So we clapped happily for the tennis team, the softball and baseball teams, the soccer team (which apparently had quite the record season) and the boys and the girls track teams. I’m sure I’m forgetting some. Oh, and when the individual teams met, we clapped for all 100 girls on the track team who were called up one by one to shake hands with all four of the coaches. And then I waited while my daughter stood in line for her letter and pin, and her expensive t-shirt, and pictures with all of her friends.
Even though the night wasn’t that exciting, I went into it reminding myself of one thing. My rather nonathletic daughter decided to join the track team. The daughter who rolls her eyes and tries to come up with any excuse not to do manual labor at home. The girl whom we dubbed the couch potato is now running sprints for her school track team. And not complaining about it. In fact, she sometimes asks to go to the gym with me. And talks about eating healthier. And as I sat watching all the kids getting awards tonight, I know that one day I could be sitting there while she gets her own award. She likes track enough to want to do it again next year, and her coach (one of them) suggested she consider long-distance running. I hope she does. As I watched her taking pictures with her friends, I was glad that she was part of the team. For even though she’s never been shy or lacking friends, I know teammates can bring friendships to a different level and can serve an important role in character development. For that I’ll thankfully trade an evening.
My daughter turned 20 today. It’s a bit unbelievable to me. It seems like just days ago that she was born. A miracle baby, born at 28 weeks. Three months early and weighing only 2 pounds. It was a shock, her birth. There was nothing that prepared me for it or gave me a clue. But there she was, laying in an incubator 20 years ago, not quite fully grown. It was a hard two and a half months that she was in the hospital, waiting to get to five pounds so we could take her home. I went every day to read to her from Babar books, talking to her and watching the numbers on her monitor jump around. I wanted so much to hold her immediately and be her mom, but it was a week after she was born that I got to hold her for just a few minutes on Mother’s Day. Then I had to wait and be a spectator for a while. It was a beautiful, painful, maturing experience watching her grow outside of me. And we were all so incredibly lucky. Babies born that early oftentimes have lingering issues of some sort. The most my daughter had was glasses when she was younger, since the eyes are one of the last things to form in utero. And today she is a beautiful, intelligent, giving and talented person. Someone I am so blessed to have in my life and call my daughter. You would never know that she was born premature and had to fight so hard just to be alive. I’m immensely thankful today for her and for the way her birth changed me and made me a stronger mother.
April is national poetry month. Yay! If you follow this blog, you know I like writing poetry. Unfortunately, a lot of my writing is a bit heavy or dark, seeing as how I use it as an emotional release. I’m back to feeling a bit more upbeat, so I found one for today that I wrote about my oldest, when she was still small. She’s an adult now, and I recognize how true these sentiments are. Watching children grow up is both an amazing and bittersweet joy, knowing that one day they will leave. Still, it’s something I’m thankful for every day.
And so it began, not with a bang
but a sigh and a groan from the
heaviness of love. Unprepared and
frightened we were by our creation
for intermittent cries in the night hung
sluggish in the morning
while dull eyes filled with the rays on
the bed. For months, day and night
had no pattern except for the constant
growth of love. Until, finally,
comfort overtook confusion.
Maturity blossomed with the first
fever and swelled with excited cries.
Yes, she’s ours,
Yes, she’s mine.
Dazed with pride we no longer felt
the heaviness–numb to the first fear
of ownership we watched our creation
grow, belying the years with her speed,
a shiny foil to our stagnant selves.
Nostalgia infused the hours of being a
spectator to a miracle with dim reminders
that one day we will not be enough;
our love will snap like a taut rubber
band and leave us dangling apart.
Not every day seems like quality time with my kids. Thankfully, today was a good day. I’m glad I still have some of those.
some days I have nothing in me to offer
to you my daughter
the burden of living puts strings on my love
worry is a hard master with many demands
I’m a slave to the rose bed I’m buried in
I’d like to wrap up the wisdom of the trees
in gold foil and shiny bow to offer to you
as a parting gift the day you cut yourself free
age gets its wisdom through the mistakes of the young
I have nothing else to learn on my own
you’ll reappear as a beautiful apparition
in and out of my lonely days
when I have time to tell you of a mother’s love
and you can absolve me of my sins
and prepare me for rest
So my daughter and I were talking today, I don’t remember about what, when she said to me, “You sound like Grandma.” Hmmm. I wasn’t quite sure what to think of that at first, so I replied, “Well, I guess that means you’ll sound like me one day.” “I’m ok with that.” No hesitation on her part. Immediate response.
That got me thinking. First, I was touched that she really saw nothing off-putting in eventually taking on some of my mannerisms or traits or whatever it was in me that prompted her to say I sounded like my mother. Once again, it reminded me that I have a pretty special kid. Then I wondered why it bothered me a tad to think that I’m echoing my mom. After all, I love my mom. But I guess there’s a stigma attached to turning into your parents. Something about it smacks of being old and out of date. Maybe because it’s usually the time someone starts saying things like you really shouldn’t be doing that and it’s getting late, I should be going home or when I was your age… However, that’s not always accurate, and it’s ignoring the truth of life. We all influence each other; the closer we are, the more influence we have. Why wouldn’t I want to sound like my mother? To emulate her? After all, she’s loving, she’s funny, she’s generous and loyal. She doesn’t harbor grudges or ill-will towards anyone.
It’s also from her that I learned that being silly and having fun are essential parts of life, no matter how old you are. I have fond memories of my mother doing things like starting food fights or water fights at home. Sometimes she’d even succeed in getting my dad involved. And when my mom and sisters came to visit for our girls weekend last November, my mom, who rarely swears and never misses church on Sunday, was the first one telling a raunchy joke. She’s as quick-witted and sarcastic as the rest of us, but she also readily laughs at herself when she knows she’s been bested. She’s also the first one in my corner when I need something–even if it’s a hard dose of the truth. Mostly, though, she’s quietly supportive. I have a collection of cards from her over the years. The kind that start with, I’m so proud of you… or I was just thinking of you…
My mother. One very cool lady. I’m thankful today that my daughter reminded me of that. I really don’t know who else I’d rather be like.