How is it that my little bambino is turning 22? I can hardly even believe that sentence as I write it.
Despite all of our mistakes, despite being the “crash test dummy” of our parenting skills (or serious lack thereof) my little daughter has grown into an incredible young woman.
If I had one memory from her childhood that I could share which completely describes my daughter, it would be this…
It was her first day of school. I had tried to contain my emotions but by the time David had pulled into the parking lot I was completely beside myself. I was a blubbering, crying, hot mess walking her into the building. She was holding my hand and basically guiding me to the classroom. The headmaster, who had probably witnessed hundreds of such distraught mothers over his tenure at the school, caught my unfortunate display and called out, “C’mon mom. Don’t let her see you cry like that. Keep it together and get her to the classroom. You can cry in the car afterwards.”
Daly Kay grabbed my hand tighter, and shot right back at him, “You leave my momma alone. She’s having a hard day, but she’s gonna be ok.”
Mr. Headmaster chuckled and I just cried harder at the defense and empathy of my sweet little pumpkin.
Daly Kay had more patience with her father and I trying to figure out this parenting gig than most kids would. She encouraged us when we knew we had flubbed up and quickly forgave our mistakes and shortcomings. She has always been a source of incredible comfort to her younger brothers and sisters and they look up to her so very much. McDonald’s hot apple pies before football practice, quick beach trips and fun jaunts running errands with her, every one of the smaller siblings adore her. Ryli, Bliss, Kemps, Glo and Trin all know that she is there to listen and be a true friend. And any one of her friends can rely and depend on her to be there no matter the challenges or struggles they may face.
Grace under pressure.
And a friend unlike any I have ever known.
I often joke that having a daughter is like a “Grow Your Own Best Friend” program. You bring life to these sweet little bundles of joy and at the end of the toughest parts of raising them, hopefully you have a friend. Prayerfully, they consider you not just their mom, but their dearest confidante. The one they laugh with. Cry with. Hold on to. And believe with. In Daly Kay, I am blessed to say we have become closest friends. And not that my parenting journey is over with her…no…I will always be her mother. But through all of it we have become dearest friends. And that is a joy and a gift to me from our Father in Heaven beyond what I had ever imagined when they first laid her in my arms 22 years ago.