In Honor of a Perfect Daughter
I picked Julia up after school today, as usual. I always park along the back side of the school and stand outside my car and wait. She comes out the double doors, disheveled pig-tails, sweater loosely tied around her thin waist, and is always sure to spot me before making the long walk across the blacktop and through the grass field. When we see one another from opposite ends of the playground, we wave big arm waves.
Trotting clumsily, sweaty and tired, she approaches me and passes off her heavy backpack almost before I can even reach it. I gladly take it from her and toss it in the front seat while she climbs into the back of our van. Today she kept the bag herself and commented, "I want to hold it today. I have something to show you." And after we're buckled in and I start the car, she hands me a large, fancy folder trimmed with gold guilding from the back seat. "Look," she said. I open it and read, "Third Grade Student of the Year" and in calligraphy, "Julia Clark". My heart leapt, and I gasped, "Julia Clark! Oh my gosh! WOW! I can't believe it. What an honor." She beamed, wearing her big, toothy 8-year-old grin, skin flushed pink with excitement and humbled confidence, "I know. Isn't it great?"
Great doesn't begin to describe it. And although I blurted out I couldn't believe it, the truth is I can. I most certainly can believe that my child was chosen to be celebrated. She is an incredibly bright, kind, thoughtful, creative, talented, hard-working, generous, determined, responsible, sincere, smart, gifted, amazing, and beautiful young girl. I am beyond proud of everything she is and all that she is becoming. I know that all of this is true because I am her mother. What delights me more is that today she was recognized by the world. Her world. I am overjoyed that she was given a moment to hear her name be read out loud in front of all of her friends and had an opportunity to feel so incredibly special without me. I am overwhelmed and so grateful. As a mother, nothing could be better.
Julia Clark is my daughter and today and always, I honor her.