We bought Hadley this bike for her first birthday. I was so excited to give it to her. I remember she had on a pink dress and a very tiny bit of hair pointing straight up on top of her head in a very tiny pony tail. It was 1993.
That first year of her life seemed to last forever. I wanted her to have hair and walk with shiny patent leather shoes. I couldn’t wait to see her grow up, like a real kid that would need me to tell her to clean her room and eat her vegetables.
And it happened even better than my motherly whims could imagine. My daughter grew before my very eyes into a beautiful young woman. She sang and played us her masterpieces on the piano (“Staples oh Staphulls” is a favorite). She read books and enlisted her siblings into plays and magic shows. She developed a sense of style and became one of the nicest people you could be lucky enough to meet.
She went from being the finger sucking baby on my hip to my dear friend.
Should you be friends with your kids? Yes.
I’ll tell you why you should… because before you know it they grow up and are no longer sleeping and waking in your house. They sprout wings and start their own adventures. And they need you even more, they need you to tell them all these new worries and concerns are normal, that they are strong and that you are proud. Then they can step out of your bubble and open their arms to the world. The bright, colorful, living, breathing, world. And then your heart will feel like it is breaking open. Because you aren’t ready, because you miss her and because you can’t hug her everyday.
This is where I am at. My daughter is a sophomore in college (she is much smarter than me because I thought you spelled sophomore like sophmore—who says soph-O-more?) Every year brings a new emotion, I didn’t know it would be this emotionally achy. I am weepy at weird stuff.
The logical part of me feels grateful she has this opportunity. I have traveled to parts of the world where women live some pretty hard lives. To struggle just because you are a girl? My daughters are among the luckiest women in the world just because they were born here. They will grow and learn and hopefully value their education. And when they are done learning in brick buildings with manicured flower beds and done traveling to wherever life leads them then can return to us. To their old Mom and Pop who will welcome them with open arms.
I miss you, Hadley.