I’ve been in tears all day today. I woke up this morning at 5:00, my heart racing and the cogs turning in my brain, stressed out from a night of worrying about my to-do list. My daughter is graduating from high school in 3 weeks, and I have so much to do to make this a special time for her. Party planning, house cleaning, gift buying. Among all of the work, I have been making a slide show of her life to be shown to all of our guests. Thumbing through her scrapbook makes me laugh, but has also torn my heart up into tiny little shreds. In each photo I scan, I see the sparkle in the eyes of my precious, changing daughter, and wonder how she grew up so fast.
My favorite page is from when she was three years old. She sits daintily in her flowery dress, playing with a baby doll, just after getting in trouble for what, I don’t recall. On the page was a story, written in my purple flowery handwriting, capturing the moment like a butterfly in a net, before it could flutter away.
By this time in her life, I have come to one very simple conclusion: she is such a precious gift. She is delicate and tough, and loves Barbies and karate. Sensitive and caring, she already hates to be teased by her brother.
My favorite memory is when I put her in time-out for something. When I went to talk to her, she was crying and asking to come out her room. When she settled down on my lap and looked up at me, she stopped abruptly and said sweetly, with tears still on her face.
“I’m in your eyes, Mommy!”
She just looked deeply into my eyes and smiled – so happy and giggly. She saw her own reflection in my eyes and that made everything better for her. I told her that I was in her eyes, too, and she thought that was funny.
She is my daughter, who is in my eyes…and in my heart.
Over the years, I would cling to this moment, as different ages and stages would pull us apart. Slumber parties with nail polish and baking cookies, gaggles of giggly girls milling around. Her eyes became focused on textbooks and boys’ faces and cell phone screens and TV, often just to avoid my gaze. But, as the end of her childhood slips away this month, I get to see the spark in her brown eyes more often, as we chat about dorm room color schemes…blue and purple… annoying teachers and new student orientation. When she looks away, I often don’t, amazed at the beauty of her young woman’s smile. People often say that we share the same eyes and smile, but I don’t see it, I have green eyes, hers are brown. Her face is tan and slim and mine is getting fuller over the years. She is much more beautiful than I.
I believe, that during those conversations, when the light is just right, she might still be able to see her reflection in my eyes. When I look in the mirror, I know I will.