Today my "baby" is 19. I have been with her for 18 birthdays, planning how to celebrate her wonderfulness. And today for the first time, she is far away. There is no party to plan and no cake to bake. And today I just needed to tell the world that I miss her...
I miss her smile that lights up a room, I miss her contagious laugh that puts others at ease. I miss her silliness, her pirouettes & pliés around the kitchen, her flopping on our bed at night to talk & pray.
I miss our deep conversations about God & life, hearing her triumphs & sadnesses during "windshield time" as I drove her places. I miss her uncanny ability to imitate accents & remember funny lines from favorite movies. I miss "animated" discussions about every subject known to man - and her opinion on all of them! (haha) I miss watching her amazing friendship & influence with her little brother and overhearing laughter and conversation with her older sister (read: best friend) by skype late into the night...
I miss how she glues herself to her father when he returns home from a trip, eager to share in his experience. I miss how she teases him & brings out his playful side. I miss hearing that she got up early and went down to Dad's office to pray with him - to his great delight. I miss her interesting & thoughtful questions about the world and its nations.
I miss hearing her talking to friends on the phone, rising & falling between English & Spanish & French, looking at outfit after outfit for some event with the youth, needing money for the train, or better yet, a ride! I miss watching her loyalty to her friends and her challenging balancing act between them and school work and dance. Seeing her grow into independence, develop hard work ethics & perseverance as well as passion and beauty has been a great joy.
I miss preparing gourmet salads and "light proteins". I miss having someone around who agrees that "presentation is everything". Nowadays, the two guys at home aren't much into that! They love our new Taco Tuesdays, are happy with fried eggs & toast and love to eat it in front of a fútbol game (ok, ok, I like that, too!) I love my guys - but I miss her feminine companionship in lots of ways. (And I make the guys eat gourmet salads sometimes!)
I dearly miss watching her dance and having been her main cheerleader & fan for all these years, to miss her performances as a mother is one of my biggest sacrifices in letting her go far away. I get choked up if I close my eyes and watch the precious memories engraved in my heart of my dynamic, beautiful, strong & graceful girl.
She has faults, too; don't get me wrong! I'm not trying to paint a perfect child. But today I even miss our arguments and emotional discussions as we worked through difficult moments and topics and areas of weakness in both of us!
Today, on her day, I will miss seeing her friends gather around her in the happiness and intimacy of that community of girlfriends. I will miss having my home filled with crazy chaos 'til the wee hours and the sleepy, satisfied faces & pajamas at breakfast. (Ok, maybe I won't miss the lack of sleep!)
Today she has a chance to start new traditions. Today she will mature a bit more. Today new friends will love on her and surprise her - people I don't even know. She is building new circles, wider ones - and it is right.
Old friends will also write or call - from literally around the world. Her global life has given her that history and she works hard to maintain that sacred tie. And of course, her family - the foundational place where her story began 19 years ago - will celebrate her from afar, with gifts sent from a distance and cyber hugs through skype. It's amazing, but as I write this, I realize that somehow through all of this, we feel closer than ever...and that perhaps sharing in her journey is the most amazing birthday present of today.
May she be blessed and prospered in her growing new life as a student. May her diligence be amply rewarded. May she flourish in all kinds & levels of relationships. May her financial needs be met in miraculous ways. May doors be opened to her as a dancer that only You can open. May You guard her from accident or injury and sickness. May she find peace as she grapples with cultures and belonging and identity issues of the heart. And most of all, may she experience You deeply and be conspicuously spiritual in all she is and does.
Here's to your First Birthday (Away from Home)!
te quiero montones :)
te quiero montones :)
Photo of Daniela by Vanessa