It’s happened. There was nothing I could do to stop it. The sun is shining and the birds are singing in celebration. Messages are coming in by phone, by text, by Twitter and facebook. In a while, family will gather and share food and drink and memories. Today, my Anna – my baby, my child, my little girl – officially becomes an adult.
And me? I want to stand on a mountain and wail. I want to tell God, “No wait, I need more time. I need to rock her to sleep once more. I need to brush those long, soft curls and twist them into thick braids one more time. I need to tie her shoes and tie ribbons in her hair again. I’m not ready, Lord. I’m just not ready. I do want her to set the world on fire and do great things. Really. I do. But I want her to do it tomorrow. I need her to be my little girl for just a while longer. Please? Please?”
But I’ll dry my tears, put on my happy face and join family and friends in a private room at a local restaurant for a quiet evening. (At least as quiet as our family can be.) There will be no laptop slideshow in the corner looping photographic evidence of the cuteness that is Anna. There will be no DJ playing all of her favorite songs as background music. There will be no fireworks in the backyard after dinner. There will, however, be love and laughter and ice cream cake as we celebrate her 21st birthday.
No, no slideshow in the corner. But there’ll be one playing in my head. I’ll see her as a 3-year old, standing in front of the television, a pacifier in each hand and one in her mouth, head bobbing as she sings along with The Little Mermaid. I’ll see that look of silent laughter on her face; the one that means something is so funny that out-loud laughter is darn near impossible. I’ll see how she looks when she’s trying very hard not to roll her eyes and scream when I still don’t get what she’s trying to explain about Photoshop or how Office is different from Works. I’ll see how she looked laying on that stretcher after the wreck and how she looked as a baby sleeping in her crib.
The background music that plays will be heard only in my heart. I’ll hear There’s a Hole In My Bucket for the 100,000,000th time. I’ll hear Hanson and The Backstreet Boys. My ears will bleed when I hear POD and I’ll smile when I hear the Beatles because she and her daddy love them so much.
I’ll hear other music, too. I’ll hear her little girl giggles and her grown up laughter. I’ll hear the excitement in her voice when she talks to me about her life now and her plans for her future. I’ll hear her call Mommy for the 50th time in twenty minutes. I’ll hear her sing when she doesn’t think I’m listening. And I’ll hear her say, “Love you, too.”
And, it turns out, there will be fireworks. The same fireworks that have gone off in my soul since the day she was born. The same fireworks that explode in my very spirit when I think about how blessed I am to be her mother and her friend.
♪ ♪ Who knows how my love grows?
And who knows where the time goes? ♪ ♪
Lyrics written by a woman about her lover, but quoted by a mother who’s love for her daughter is boundless and who finds herself, today, wondering where the time goes.