She is two days old. The nurse brings her into my room, her eyes wide, wide open, a shock of dark hair standing almost straight up from her little head. She looks like she is ready for the world, full of energy, and ready to get started.
She is three weeks old. She has been crying, actually screaming, for the better part of six hours. She stops when it's time to take pictures for our fifth anniversary. From the pictures, you cannot tell that she has been crying at all. She looks angelic.
She is two years old. She marches around the house, wearing my work heels and holding a yellow legal pad, proclaiming that she has a lot of trials.
She is five years old. She has a kindergarten project, where she has to write about a favorite stuffed animal and leave the stuffed animal at school overnight. I notice that the stuffed animal is still in her room and I rush to the school, find her at her lunch table and triumphantly hand over her beloved stuffed animal. She does not look at all pleased to see me. She tells me that she does not need the stuffed animal, and I find out later that she has a moral objection to the assignment and had decided that it was not appropriate to ask five-year-olds to leave beloved stuffed animals in a school, overnight.
She is nine years old. We are holding hands and jumping up and down on the stairs outside of a local community theater. She has just gotten her first musical theater call back.
She is twelve years old. We are in a mall parking lot and she is explaining to me why it is imperative that I purchase her a North Face jacket and a pair of Ugg boots. I deliver a long lecture about being comfortable in your own skin and bucking fashion trends, complete with detailed reminiscing about a fuzzy winter hat with a pompom that I used to wear when I was her age. She listens patiently until I finish and says, "Mom, you're wearing Uggs." Several years later, she uses her own money to buy her younger sister a North Face so that she won't have the same trouble getting proper middle school attire.
She is fifteen. We are eating a host of desserts in my car. This is our routine; I drop her at her voice lesson and then I purchase the newest desserts and chocolates at Trader Joe's, and we review them when she is done with her lesson. We share this in common, our love for chocolate.
One of our favorites from Trader Joe's is the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels. There is something addictive about the salt on these caramels. Underneath the salt is a layer of chocolate, high quality chocolate. The center is a light, gooey caramel. The combination of thick salt, dark chocolate, and caramel is delicious. Another favorite of ours is the dark chocolate peanut butter cups. The peanut butter cups are small, almost bite size. The chocolate is very dark, and pairs unexpectedly well with the peanut butter center.
She is almost sixteen. She has just left for a summer program, which takes her halfway across the country for three weeks. I decide I will clean out her closet while she's gone. Mostly, I just want to be in her room. Somehow it feels better if I'm sitting in her room.
She is seventeen. We have traveled to yet another city, for another college audition. We have just turned out the lights in our hotel room, as she has an early morning of acting, dancing, and singing. In the dark she says, "Thank you for doing this."
She is eighteen. All week I keep seeing, in her face, flashes of her eight-year-old self, or her eleven-year-old self. It seems like yesterday, but also, like an eternity ago. Because she is not a child anymore. She has a high school diploma and a bank card and a driver's license. She takes trains into the city, she drives on a highway, she visits out-of-town friends. She picks college courses and makes plans for this new phase of her life. No, she is no longer a child.
But still, she is mine. Somehow, from a hospital room, we have arrived here. My hope, like the hope of all moms, is for a path full of happiness.
I also hope for room to share some more chocolates. Now and then.
Have a sweet week!