Sitting in my hospital bed, white as the sheet…..”Where is my baby?”, I ask tearfully. It is not you, but me, the reason I didn’t see you for twelve hours, an eternity.
You are in the kitchen sink, screaming, red, naked, crying real tears, and I am crying real tears right along with you. No one warns a first mother about the first bath. And have I mentioned I was only nineteen?
My friend walks in with you in her arms from the car, sets you on her living room floor, and continues walking to the kitchen. Right behind her, I scoop you up quickly from your sitting position. At seven months you still can’t sit alone.
Your shiny little face giggles as you take one step toward me and drop to the floor.
You are so happy when your baby sister is born and no longer come to me in the middle of the night, snuggling your soft little three year old body into my arms for comfort.
Were you born talking, Lisa? Can’t remember your first word, but I can remember whole, sane conversations with you as a two year old. At three, you began chattering paragraphs, and haven’t stopped since. Once, when you came home from a movie (around 10, I think), I asked you what it was about, and you told me the whole movie, scene for scene, line for line.
A six year old with sturdy legs, white socks, black patent leather Mary Janes, a pink dotted swiss dress and pink bow in her almost waist length brown straight hair stands outside the school, crying, because her mother has forgotten to give her lunch money.
A ten year old nymph rolling in the back seat of the car (before seat belts, need I add) laughing hysterically when her seven year old sister asks her first “sex” question. You and your friend had already looked up all you wanted to know in her father’s Physician’s Desk Reference unbeknownst to me.
What would I have done without you when your brother was born when you were thirteen? You carried him on your hip as much as I did. No wonder you have always been able to “guilt” him.
I turn around in the car and see a thirteen year old hippie (bangs in eyes, long straight hair, bell bottom jeans) with blue eyes speaking Chinese on the way to school (they never offered the Chinese language when I was in school). Surreal.
You make the drill team finally in ninth grade, and cut your long hair for it. At the end of eighth grade you find they are moving the ninth grade to the high school, and you will never perform on the field, and you have short hair!
Sixteen years old, you stand beside your first car, a yellow Firebird, ( more gray hairs for Mom), grinning from ear to ear. You have on your Minyard’s smock, on your way to work. Before this car, you had to drive two old cars of your parents, one of which you nicknamed “The Ark” due to a drive through a flooded street crammed with your friends. I miss my friend that I used to drive everywhere.
An excited senior going to the Prom, your handsome date has on a tux and you look gorgeous in a floor length aqua dress, carefully shopped for.
We load your car and I smile bravely while you drive away to college with your best friend from high school where you both were the editor and assistant editor of the Yearbook. Your father and I visit you there, you look so small in the rear window of the car as we drive away and you wave to us.
I cry for three months when I have time, usually when I am doing the dishes you used to help me with.
The phone rings while you are home on Christmas vacation. You smile; he is calling you from his skiing vacation.
I hold you in my arms while you cry. “He wants to date other people”, you sob.
As you walk across the stage in a purple cap and gown to get your diploma, your smile looks as if you have a very special secret or perhaps just like the cat who ate the canary.
Your face is beaming as you extend your left hand to present the marquis diamond.
You whip your car around the maze called Houston traffic and I realize just how independent you truly are.
A beautiful young woman lays beside me on my bed in her sophisticated floor length orchid nightgown, and I cuddle her as we make plans for her wedding.
My eyes blur as the bride walks down the aisle with her Dad. She looks like a sparkling diamond glistening in the setting of her ruby clad bridesmaids, beaming. The tears about the wrong color on the wedding cake forgotten.
Is that Faye Dunaway leaving after the wedding in her blue silk dress, black hat, shoes, and stockings? A mad dash to the car through the rice and well wishers. Wait, why are Faye Dunaway and Steve McQueen rummaging through the trunk of their car before they leave on their honeymoon? The bridegroom’s pants are too long as they belong to one of his groomsmen since he left his in the hotel room where he dressed for the wedding.
My son and I mope, one of our best friends will no longer live with us. I feel bereft…..then, a phone call the next day from the airport, “Mom, will you…..?” I’m still needed! Mom is glad to.
Once again, I stand and watch one of my closest friends drive away in a car. The car is loaded with the wedding presents left while on the honeymoon in Cancun, and you are on your way back to your new home, your new career, and life. I cry all afternoon, but I know we did good.
(Twenty four years later, Lisa and Mike have three beautiful children, but that is another story; this story was about my years with her).