Saturday, March 27, 2010
Time not only flies; it hops the Concord & take off to the Outer Limits!
My daughter is seventeen today.
I can't hardly articulate how I feel about this. I remember being seventeen like it was only last week (unless I try to stay kneeling down for a bit). I have fond memories of living in the only house we ever had (we only had it for the 4 years I was in High School)and having a "Princess House" party when all they sold was crystal. Later, I remember being invited to a "Queens Way" party & buying my first negligee (it was dark burgundy & by today's standard would be considered a ultra-conservative prom dress!)
This morning, while cleaning I found a photo album under my bed from 1990. My beloved grandpa Hurt was alive, my dad was alive; my cousin Mary Ellen was alive. My fiancee hadn't been hit on his motorcycle & left in a coma for 6 months only to awaken & be left with no memory of our time or promises to each other. I was all of 26, smooth skinned. My hair was a little over an inch long and not dyed, white or flat ironed. I didn't own a sewing machine. I had an apartment, two cats & lived alone. I didn't watch TV even then; I learned calligraphy, silk flower arranging and listened to 'the wave' on the stereo. I kept a 30 gal. freshwater fish tank my Grandfather gave me.
I've worked at my day job with the same company for just over 22 years. Ellen & I have been in this house for the last 15 of those.
I am most grateful that Ellen has never had to move once (in her childhood) let alone several times a year. She's never had to get all new friends; always be the 'new kid' at yet another school or fall sleep in a back booth at one of the nightclubs where her mother worked. True, she never got to dress up for special gigs but neither did she have to teach herself to overcome her fear and politely say 'no thank you' to men twice her age when they asked her to slow dance. She never had to wonder why their embraces were so tight or to try and smile anyway so her mother would think she was having a good time. She never had to wash the car the next morning cleaning all the 'sick' off the drivers side door because her mother was so drunk but kept driving anyway. I am thankful she doesn't know what it's like to be 11 and have the police show up at your door wanting to know where your parents are. Or the combination of excitement and shame you feel when you are told your grandparents will be driving all the way from L.A. to pick you up and you must go home with them. Or what it's like to run from your apartment screaming in panic for help from anybody when the grease in the pan you were trying to make popcorn in catches fire. I value the childhood I had, even if it only let me shape my future by contrast.
I am a Parent. It is my job To Be There. I am so glad I Showed Up!
It's so interesting that the best part of my life started in 1993 when Ellen was placed in my arms. I am reminded how sparkly and full of glitter glue those first years were! Celebrating all the holidays with a vengeance! Swimming lessons, Soccer, Gymnastics. Girl Scouts. I am grateful for the innocence my daughter has (which is not the same as naivete); for the stability I have been able to provide and I am unendingly blissed out that I still get to be here & watch her every day and see who she is becoming & how her life is turning out. As we used to say 'What a rush!'
I've always told her, it's been my Honor and Privilege to be her mom.