#1 had her last day of high school and her 18th birthday on the same day last week. Commencement ceremonies followed a few days later. Pretty heady sense of freedom for one who has often expressed her desire “to get out of here.” She’s not physically leaving quite yet – freshman year of college will be at the local community college – but mentally she figures she’s a grown up.
She is an adult in the eyes of the law, except for that pesky drinking age thing, but she’s still my little girl. The one who came first and survived our newbie parenting. The one who had such a perfectly round head that all the nurses remarked about it. The one who, when introduced to her new baby brother, immediately got her two favorite stuffed animals to introduce to him. The one who correctly predicted #3 was her baby sister when I was convinced it would be a second brother. The one who stood out at the mailbox every evening and waved to all the neighbors as they drove home. The one who was the only girl in our neighborhood posse of boys – yet she was the one in charge.
The one who was terrified and excited at the same time to perform her very first tap solo – and whose quivering body launched itself into my arms when it was done. The one who insisted on doing her own hair and makeup when most of the other girls at the studio still wanted me to help them. The one who was so graceful and beautiful during a lyrical piece about a girl and her doll, that I’ve never been able to watch the whole thing without tears running down my face (as they are now). The one who despite her dance talent could never quite get down and funky – always a ballerina even in hip hop.
The one who has always known her own mind. The one that raced through the doors of pre-school and never looked back, even surrounded by crying 4-yr-olds clinging to their mommies. The one who really should consider law school since she will argue that the sky is indeed green just to be contrary. The one who has never lacked in self-confidence: her 5th grade teacher was amazed that she actually volunteered to go first for every speech/presentation they did. The one who carried on a conversation with a kid in the orthodontist’s office – who had addressed her by name – as if they were old friends, and when I asked who he was she shrugged and replied matter-of-factly and without a shred of arrogance, “I don’t know. Everyone just knows me.”
The one who during the commencement ceremony jumped up and down waving at all of us. The one who mouthed “love you, mom” to me during the speeches. The one who will leave to go away to school in just over a year. The one who will, I predict, eventually have kids of her own, even though now she says no way.
The one who will always be my little girl no matter how old she gets or how far she goes. Love you, sweetheart.