And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.
When you’re a parent, there are all these moments. Some of them are obvious: first time sitting up, first walk, first run, first day of school, and so on. I remember with each of my four kids, I had a “baby’s first year” calendar that came with stickers that you could put on the date that your child met one of the calendar-maker’s “moments”. I was always so excited with these, and may have even fibbed on a few: “Well, he sat up for three seconds before falling over, so that’s sitting up!”
But as I lived my way through each child, I became aware of the other moments that maybe aren’t so obvious and that I’ve never seen on any calendar. When your kid suddenly shoots beyond you in height, grins at you, pats you on the head, and says, “Hi, Little Mommy.” The first argument that ends in its usual way at first, with the child stomping off to his or her room and slamming the door, but then that door opens and the child comes back with tears and an apology. The first serious talk that isn’t about toys or other kids at school or even what’s for dinner.
When you’re a parent, there are just these moments, some that can’t even be verbalized, when you look at your child and you see a person.
Over the weekend, I became my daughter Olivia’s personal shopper. She is going to Homecoming and by the time that decision was made, it was only two weeks away. With our different work schedules, there was no way we could go together before the big day. So while Olivia worked, I went to Goodwill, my favorite fancy-dress-you’ll-never-wear-again store, and brought home armfuls. On Sunday, I took back the rejects and came home with another armful.
The dresses covered many moods, which reflected my daughter, because when you’re almost 18, your life is many moods. Some were sexy, some were fru-fru, some were kinda silly.
And then there was one.
The dress is different for a Homecoming. But my daughter is different too. The dress is a dark chocolate brown, silky, flowing. It’s a halter top, and the straps of the halter come up over the dress material and are sheer and wide. The dress is classic, romantic, reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn (and Olivia knows who Audrey Hepburn is), beautiful, gentle. Stunning in a way that makes you turn and look again and whisper, “Wow,” instead of popping your eyes wide open and shouting, “Holy cats!”
When Olivia tried it on and looked at herself, her left hand came up and rested naturally on her hip. And the smile that crossed her face was just…oh. There’s that not being able to verbalize it. But that smile. Maybe it’s the smile that shows she recognizes her own beauty, but also knows that beauty isn’t the only thing. Maybe it was satisfaction with how she’s turned out, but also the determination to do even more.
Maybe it was just Olivia. My girl.
And I found myself thinking, Oh, look at her. Just look at her.
Then, last night, I came downstairs to find Michael and Olivia in a deep conversation. “What’s going on?” I asked.
Olivia looked up at me. “I’m going to be voting soon, so I figure I better know what’s going on and what to do. I asked Dad to explain liberalism and conservatism to me.”
Another Wow whisper. Moment.
On Facebook this week, a friend who has just become a grandmother for the first time posted a photo of her granddaughter. And my friend’s caption was, “I’m in love.”
Me too. I’ve been in love since January 18, 1984. March 12, 1986. April 8, 1987.
And October 17, 2000.
(not to mention my own granddaughter, since January 21, 2013.)
That moment. That smile. That dress. That desire to know.
Oh, that girl.
And yes, that helps. SHE helps. Despite. Anyway.
2 Replies to “9/20/18”
So very, very lovely. The smile, the dress, the moment. Thank you for reminding us of those “moments” that aren’t on calendars, aren’t always spoken, but instead are tucked solidly into our hearts. With two daughters myself, it brought up so many of those indelible moments.
Jan, thank you so much! Seeing her expression when she tried on that dress…I think it will stay with me forever.