Thirteen years ago today, we celebrated our daughter’s becoming a Bat Mitzvah. She wanted it in Israel. Atop Masada. Her parasha — Balak — was set in the Moabite mountains and she knew those peaks could be seen from there.
I’ll never forget that hot July morning. Surrounded by ninety family members and friends, she chanted the Shacharit prayers and three Torah aliyot flawlessly. Her comfort, confidence and composure were evident to all those present. As her mother, I knew it was just a glimpse of her potential and a promise of things to come.
My daughter is turning twenty-six in a couple of weeks.
Gone is the little one who couldn’t name certain vegetables. Gone is the fourth grade girl who suffered from anxieties and fears. Gone is the picky eater. Gone is the kid who never had an opinion. Gone is the person who was content to go along with the crowd. She is nothing like her former self.
I’ve been observing her for the last ten days (we’ve been on a family vacation). I’ve listened to her speak French and Spanish. I’ve watched her at wine-tastings and Michelin star restaurants. I’ve seen her take in foreign beaches, ports, villages and people…all with admiration, interest and respect.
And when she talks about the friends and work waiting for her back home, I am pleasantly surprised. Her thoughtfulness, candor, curiosity and loyalty are admirable.
I am very proud of the five-foot-nine, blonde, blue-eyed woman that my daughter has become. Her worldliness and self-assuredness far exceed mine when I was her age; despite the fact that I was married. Her ability to go after what she wants — or to walk away from things that aren’t right for her — is inspiring. It’s ironic that she now encourages ME to reach outside my comfort zone and try new things.
In thirteen more years she will turn thirty-nine. While I’m not eager to rush away the years, I am curious about where they’ll lead her. Regardless, she knows that I — her Number One Fan — will be cheering her on.