Thursday, September 29, 2011

She's Got A Way


These last few weeks have been hard.  

A couple of weeks ago my third daughter turned the magical age of eighteen. Finally, the Cinderella shoe fits—suddenly, she no longer has to have her dad or me to sign for her to get a tattoo. Her bank account will have only her name in the upper left hand corner. This was her Prince and Ball kind of day—the second great milestone of young adulthood. 

In the middle of the day, however, her car tire decided to deflate and come unattached from the rim while she was driving home from the nearby university. She called me and asked me what to do. I struggled because I couldn’t get to her to make sure she was safe.  And in that moment I realized she was eighteen and this was only one of the first of days when life would be hard for her, and I wouldn’t be able to get to her or fix a situation. My heart turned awkwardly and painfully in my chest. 

She’s beautiful. And not just her mama thinks so. She walks in a room and everyone always turns to me and exclaims in quieted whispers that she is just beautiful. 

She’s got a way about her. Billy Joel must have known.

I watch her sometimes. Her dark lashes flutter against her smooth olive skin. Her chestnut-colored mane frames her face—tendrils fluttering. She still walks with a dancer’s glide. 

Frequently she comes to help in my classroom on Fridays. Calm and reserved she sits in a chair with the students and spells words for boisterous little boys. She makes them laugh and shows them how to set up paragraphs by marking the margins with penciled dots. 

At home she sits at the piano for her nightly therapy—the music wafts up the staircase and under my bedroom door. I stop my rustling of pages and hammering of keys and just simply listen. Her music, just like her, is multi-layered. I hear fragility and tenacity. I hear strength and passion.
And I hear her—her. 

She’s eighteen now—such a beautiful, unnerving and liberating age. 

My heart turns awkwardly and painfully in my chest because at some point she will learn that glass slippers are very hard to walk in and those pumpkin coaches break down occasionally. And that even the best of princes sometimes have feet of clay. 

But it is my prayer that in the midst of it all she keeps her way about her...