I have one daughter. She and her older brother actually had the same due date two years apart. He came early, she came late. I knew I was having a girl even before she was born. And once I figured out she was lactose intolerant, she thrived, eventually becoming her brother’s shadow, sidekick, and rescue (twice, to be exact). There’s a reason God gave me only one daughter. As I’ve said repeatedly, this one was like having three.
If you’ve ever had a strong-willed child, you’ll understand the fine line that must be navigated constantly so as not to discourage independence, while at the same time keeping your daughter safe. Beginning around the age of five, Meg loved to explore; usually public places that had restrooms. She loved the freedom to leave the group and find it on her own, making her way back with barely dry hands and a proud smile. What she wasn’t aware of was a parent was always discreetly behind her, making sure she was safe .
Meg has always been a ridiculously social being. Once, in the comments section of her report card, the teacher tactfully wrote, “Meghan excels socially.” School wasn’t so much for learning as it was to mingle among her peers. Rather than sit and watch a movie at the theater, she was more interested in seeing who else was there so she could sit with them.
Our relationship was a seesaw of joy and frustration, probably on both our parts. Through her teen years, letting her learn through real-life consequences was probably the most difficult part of mothering this child. But because of that, she has become one of the most independent, courageous, generous and loving adults I’ve ever known. We’ve grown from mother and daughter to best friends (always keeping in mind I get to play the ‘mom’ card if necessary). She is still strong-willed, but she has learned through trial and error to temper her opinions and understand that tactfulness is an art.
After traveling the country in her job, she has finally settled just over an hour from me, and we see each other as often as we can. We enjoy morning coffee, shopping, and talking about everything. We travel well together liking the same music, the same off-road attractions. She’s grown through health issues, job issues, and family issues, and her cup is always optimistically half full. And while she claims she still isn’t where she hoped she would be at this time in her life, God’s timing isn’t our timing. I tell her be patient. Believe. Have faith. And I think she does. I think she is right where she belongs.
There’s that old mom’s saying, “I hope you have a child just like you!” Well, I kind of do and I kind of don’t. While she’s like me in many ways, Meg has more confidence, more generosity, and more strength than I ever had. And she is my forever friend.
Happy birthday, my Meg.