This past weekend, our school community mourned the death and celebrated the life of one of our school‘s moms. She left behind three daughters, ages 11, 13 and 15. Over the past few days, I have done a lot of thinking about my own three daughters and how I cherish every minute that we have together, so I hope you will indulge me this morning as I take a stroll down memory lane.
My oldest daughter will be turning nineteen in just a couple of months, and I can’t figure out where the time has gone. It seems like just yesterday I sat in the hospital bed, in between the second and third of three blizzards we had in the state of Maryland that year, and held my beautiful, new baby girl. I felt the bond instantly, and my love for her has never lessened over the years, but my admiration for her and the young woman she has become grows every day. When Rebecca was eight years old, she and I embarked on our very first mother-daughter journey, taking in all of the sights and sounds of New York City. After five days, four nights, three Broadway shows, two views from the top of skyscrapers, and one picnic in Central Park, it was a trip neither of us will ever forget. In fact, I decided to make it a trip to repeat with each of her sisters at some point during their youth. One of my happiest, and yes, saddest times as a parent was watching her accept her high school diploma. However, we established another mother-daughter travel tradition just a few short days later when the two of us began our three week backpacking trip through Northern Europe. Rebecca planned the entire trip, and we had an even more wonderful time than we ever imagined. I look forward, every day, to her texts and calls from school to fill me in on her classes, social calendar, school clubs, and love life. Yesterday she hit a milestone in the life of a Sophomore and declared her major of Criminal Justice with a double minor in Legal Studies and Philosophy. I pity the attorney who comes up against her in Court someday!
My Katie Ann is one of those special people who lights up the room with her smile and has a true heart of gold. For fifteen years, I’ve had the privilege of watching her grow into a beautiful young lady who spends her entire life looking out for others. She’s gifted in music, art, and writing, and infused with a love of both the young and the elderly, and I can’t wait to see what she chooses to do with her life. Katie and I made our way to New York last March over her spring break. Much older than Rebecca had been for that first trip many years ago, Katie had an entirely different agenda planned; and we spent the entire time touring Broadway theaters, art museums, and the famed Radio City Music Hall. Her choices of Broadway productions mirrored her eclectic tastes for everything else in life. We marveled at the stunts in Spiderman, Turn Off the Dark; cried with Christine and Raul as they battled The Phantom of the Opera; and sat on the edge of our seats, tapping our feet along with the boys of Newsies. Katie has two more years of high school, and every day brings on new challenges but also new joys as she discovers the greater world around her and becomes the woman she is meant to be. I feel honored to be able to see it happen.
And now for Morgan, my strong, confident, athletic, and often out-spoken thirteen-year-old. Morgan is a vivacious, sometimes brash, girl who could have more than held her own in a room with Louisa May Alcott’s Jo. She has no desire to go to New York on our mother-daughter trip and has asked to go to Florida to learn to surf instead! We’re still looking into that one! How fun it has been over the past year to watch Morgan begin to become a young lady as she matures, discovers boys (the only moments in her life I’ve ever seen her act shy), and even more importantly, discovers herself. She’s already planning her post-graduation trip (still four years away) to the Mediterranean to visit Greece, Sicily, and Turkey. Always observant, and diligently sticking up for the underdog, Morgan could easily live her adult life as a superhero. I can definitely see her racing the speeding bullet, stopping a locomotive, leaping tall buildings in a single bound, and rescuing everyone in peril. From the time she was only two-years-old, Morgan has wanted to go into medicine. I have no doubt that whether it’s that or another equally noble occupation, she will be the very best in her field, somehow saving the lives of everyone around her.
My heart breaks for the three young girls from school. I hope that they will always remember how much their mother loved them. So today, as I celebrate my love for my daughters, I hope there is someone in your life for you to celebrate. Hug them fiercely, tell them you love them, and never let a day go by that they don’t know how proud of them you are.