Counting Down…

Ten…nine…eight…seven…six… My daughter, my baby, will turn twenty-one in ten days.

It was yesterday that she was born. A truly ugly duckling baby with spiky red hair, big blue eyes, and almost translucent white skin, she wanted love and attention. A “snacker” from the start, she preferred to eat a little bit every couple of hours instead of a real meal three times a day. A sickly thing – hospitalized with a “fever of unknown origin” at one month of age, afflicted with chicken pox at six months of age, and plagued by ear infections or strep throat every other month – she was a regular at the pediatrician.

It was yesterday that she turned one. A cute blonde toddler now who suddenly stood up and ran down the hall, she never had tried to walk until that very day. A lover of dogs, she constantly played with, lay on, and wanted to adopt them. A vocal little tyke who yelled with earnest, “Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah” from the top of the steps, she always received an eager response from her daddy.

It was yesterday that she turned five. A child who rejected ballet and gymnastics, she took up soccer; her father’s sport. A sister who scratched and hit her brother, she made me believe he was the aggressor. A student who was among the youngest of her classmates, she needed afternoon naps and was a very picky eater. A Daddy’s Girl through-and-through, she manipulated him in ways I never could.

It was yesterday that she turned thirteen. A teenager who wanted to become a Bat Mitzvah in Israel atop Masada, she explained that she wanted to see the Moabite Mountains – the scene of her Torah portion – in the distance. A girl who had suffered from numerous fears in the fourth grade, she now displayed a calm confidence and poise that truly marked her rite of passage.

It was yesterday that she turned eighteen. An athlete who was at home on the soccer field, she also proved herself on the basketball court. An Honor Society student, she learned the lessons of studying versus playing hard. A young woman who survived the breakup of her first romance, she knows she’ll love – and really be loved – again. A high school graduate, she left home to attend Tulane University; hardly looking back.

Ten…nine…eight…seven…six… My daughter, my baby, will turn twenty-one in ten days. A college student (more worldly than I ever was!), she spent a month touring Europe and a semester studying in Prague. An intern in a global marketing department of a beauty and fragrance company, she’s spending the summer in New York City. A young adult who will graduate college, she will get a job and leave home within the year.

She came from me, but from Day One she was her own person; very much apart from me. A great storyteller and fast talker, she’s hypnotizing. A beauty on the outside, her inner radiance lights any room she walks into. An outgoing and loving spirit, she has taught me much about being a patient parent, a loyal friend, and a good listener.  A good soul, she makes our world a better place.

As she turns twenty-one, I look forward to the engaging new chapters of tomorrows…

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