Things had gotten hard.
As they will; as they do.
I lay beside her.
Tears slid silently into my hair.
And through my despair, I remembered.
I remembered Love Heals.
We were getting ready for bed.
It was the last night before she left childhood behind.
I was making my bed, and a feather floated up, swirled in the air.
And landed next to a rose quartz heart on my nightstand.
“Come here!” I called to her. “They say finding feathers is a sign that angels are nearby … Come! Look! Look at this feather on my nightstand! I think it’s a sign. Someone is watching over you.”
She came into my bedroom.
She looked at the lone feather by the heart and encircled me with her arms.
“You’re so cute, Mama,” she said. “Will you tuck me in?”
“I can’t wait,” I told her as I kissed her face. “I can’t wait to see the incredible woman you become. I am honored to be your mother. Thank you for choosing me.”
Her brother woke up early this morning.
I heard a knock on a door.
And when I went down the hall, I found them hugging in front of her room.
“Happy Birthday!” he said. “I had to get up as soon as it was morning so I could wish you a happy birthday,” he explained. “I love you.”
“I love you, too, little boy,” she said.
We were getting ready to head out for her surprise party.
She climbed on my back and clamped her legs around mine while I put on make-up.
I teased that it was just like it used to be – only when she was a baby, I’d have her hanging off the front of me while I put my make-up on.
And I remembered feeling in this past year that the only way my girl was not hanging from me, was literally.
“Will you wear your special ring today, Mama?” she asked. “The one we bought together in New York. And will you wear it next to the ring you wear to keep me safe?”
“I will!” I said.
And put it on.
We arrived at the park to squeals of concealed excitement.
Her friends swooped in on her.
They had secretly planned a huge party.
With sushi and guacamole, tag and truth or dare.
“Can you ask my mom to go?” I heard my birthday girl ask her BFF who had secretly planned the whole affair.
“Um, Lara?” her sweet friend asked. “We were wondering if you could leave …”
As I left, I saw my girl, barefoot in the park, engulfed by her friends.
It turns out having a 13 year old birthday party is a lot like being an Uber driver.
After the last friend was dropped at home, she crawled into bed and asked to have me read my birthday card to her.
It talked about her beautiful heart, her capacity for love, and my gratitude for being on this ride with her.
It assured her that she belongs to me, and I to her.
And that I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I finished reading the card and went to throw away the envelope.
“Can I keep the envelope, Mom?” she asked, tucking the card away …
My new teenager still wants me to tuck her in.
Happy Birthday to My Extraordinary Daughter.
May this next year go easy on you, my love.