This morning my daughter came down decked out in layers of plaid skirts, short tights, polka dot socks and crocks. Her paisley purple shirt topped off the entire outfit with a proper bow at the neckline. She illuminated joy from every ounce of her 7 year old tiny body. “Wow, hon! You’re a party!” She beamed at this compliment from me and sat down all sorts of matter-of-fact at breakfast ready for the day.
My kid? She has the pizazz.
I remember someone cooing over her as a baby. “Doesn’t she just bring you so much joy?” It was an innocent question from a perfect stranger, but at the time she was a three week old leech taking every ounce of my sanity in chunks of 45 minute sleeping blocks. I looked up, bleary eyed, and tried to smile a genuine smile all the while thinking, “Mister, have you HAD babies?”
It turns out? He had. His kids were grown now and he was looking at my three week old baby girl with eyes of decades of memories. Memories like the one at the breakfast table this morning.
“Thanks, Mom,” she said to me when I told her I was proud of her for picking out such a great outfit. I looked at her, her seven year old self, blonde hair, blue eyed lovely. Joy? Yes. Happiness? Yes. Frustration? Yes. But love, oh so much love, beyond anything I can comprehend.
We ate, walked to the bus together, and there at the bus stop was our neighbor girl, a girl in the same class, wearing nearly the same outfit. Both girls smiled and giggled with shy confidence. My neighbor and I laughed as our daughters caught the bus, girls in mis-matched socks and polka dot skirts, skipping up the steps. “Here’s the thing,” I told my neighbor, “I figure I’ll pick my battles. Don’t do drugs, have safe sex, and bygod wear whatever you want.”
I hope she keeps this spirit about her. And I know one day I’ll lean over a ragged, tired mother, and ask with genuine knowledge, “Doesn’t she bring you so much joy?”
She does. Daily.