Monday, April 11, 2011

'FINALLY 21'


Today my middle daughter turns 21. Her father and I went up to visit her yesterday. She so ecstatic for ‘finally’ turning 21 and all I can think is how fast time has flown. It seems only yesterday that she was a blonde hair blue eye four year old telling me that she was going to grow up to be Mo Vaughn. There was no telling her then that the odds of her doing so were extremely slim. She was never one to let the odds discourage her although I believe growing up to be Mo Vaughn was a little out of her control.

As my children have grown, I have come to realize each was born with their personality. From an early age, Tracy has been her own person. Twenty-one years ago, my husband dropped me off at my mother-in-laws while I was in labor. He had already taken me to the doctor’s who informed me that although I was in labor it would be awhile. My husband didn’t want to leave me alone at home with my two year old. So I stayed with my mother-in-law since my own mother was 1300 miles away.

God love the woman! In her day, women in labor were in the hospital. I’ll never forget the day. She had me walking the neighborhood ‘to induce labor’ I could barely get up the hills at times. We had to stop and talk to the neighbors. Now, being Southern I appreciate the need to be hospitable and my mother-in-law, even though she is a Yankee, has to have been one of the most hospitable people I have ever met, but when I was in active labor, I might not have appreciated it as well as I should have. My two year old wouldn’t leave my side. My mother-in-law tried to constantly tried to feed me…well I ended up calling up my husband and telling him to get over to his mother’s immediately. I was going to the hospital whether I was far enough along or not. At the hospital, I told them I wasn’t going back there! That’s what labor does to you. No more than a couple of hours later, Tracy was born...named after her grandmother.

A daughter! I may not have loved being pregnant, but I will always remember the moment they laid my babies in my arms. I wish I could bottle the feeling. And Tracy…What a beautiful little baby! My smallest. I spent hours dressing her up in little dresses and bows. A good thing because it wouldn’t last. Tracy was born with a mind of her own. She doesn’t like dresses, never has. I will never forget when she was in nursery school. I went out and bought the cutest little dress for her school pictures. When it came to getting her dress, she fought me every step of the way. What was she? Maybe three. Before we left for school, she went back up stairs. She came down in a shirt of her brother’s, a cowboy shirt with embroidery of a cowboy roping a cow and jeans. Needless to say, she had her picture made in the cowboy shirt. Now it’s one of my favorite pictures.

Stubborn. When she was in kindergarten, I gave her skating lessons. Again I had visions of her as an ice skating champion. I have the cutest picture of her in her ice skating program dressed up in the cutest little outfit with a lollipop. But what did she want to do…play hockey. I told her she had to wait if she waited to play hockey until when she was in second grade. She did. She took her lessons and waited…to play hockey. She’s still playing.

Faith and belief. Tracy exhibits the epitome of the power of faith. When I told her that all would work out when she didn’t make a travel hockey team when she was ten, I didn’t even believe my own words. How hard it is when see your child in pain, knowing they gave everything they had and should have made it, but life is never fair. Moreover, I hadn’t a clue how she was going to get on another travel team because all the team roosters were filled. “You have to believe there is a purpose behind this,” I said. “You keep working hard and keep your head up. It will work out.” She lived on all my words… hard work, perseverance, believe in yourself, pick yourself up. Not blessed as her brother with as much natural ability, what she wasn’t born with she made up with it hard work and sweat. Not only did she end up with a travel team then, she went on to gain a scholarship to a prep school. All on her own because she decided if she wanted to play in college she needed to go to prep school. We didn’t have the extra money to send her to prep school. So she got a scholarship.

Compassion. When Tracy was in second grade, she came home before Christmas upset. She had a new little girl in her class. A foster child who had endured a hard life. She had talked to Tracy. She told Tracy all she wanted for Christmas was this special doll. Tracy wanted to take her money and buy it for her. So we went to the store and bought the doll. The only thing I told Tracy was that she couldn’t let the girl know it was her that gave it to the girl. Tracy understood what I try to convey. If you do something from your heart it’s not the recognition from that deed, but the feeling you gain from doing what is right. We gave it to the teacher to give to the girl. Her teacher told the little girl that someone thought she was special and wanted her to have the doll. Tracy never told it was her that gave the doll to the girl. That’s Tracy. When I offered to a trip for her high school graduation, she asked if she could go on a school trip to help a needy school in South Africa. Instead of fun and sun, Tracy chose to help people.

Tracy wants to change the world for the better. She’s an advocate. When she won the award for Politics when she graduated from high school it came as no surprise. But with the road she is on, it’s difficult. Choosing to make your own path is not easy. Though it is the one she is going down. No, it’s not the road I would have chosen for her, but it’s like the dress I picked out for her picture when she was three, that road is not for her.

So, my thoughts for my daughter this day…follow your fate, your destiny, to where it leads you. Believe in yourself and hold to your faith. Love you and God bless you.

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