She was the leader of the pack if we went to a park and there were new kids to be met. Her brother was much more shy - he needed to ascertain the other kids were OK and then, usually just as we were ready to leave, he would get animated. By then Bella had been playing for probably 30 minutes or more and knew their life stories.
As a three year old, I took her to the Gap. I had her try on a gray flannel coat with a black velvet collar, cuffs and buttons. She looked angelic. That cherubic face looked at me and declared, "You can buy it. I will NEVER wear it."
In kindergarten, the teacher told us if he wanted to remember something he wanted to do, he would ask Bella as she seemed to always know what was going on.
On the first day of first grade, Bella came home and announced, "I was sent to the behavior chart this morning." I was rather taken aback when I asked her how she felt about that and at seven replied, "Tomorrow is a new day, mommy. I get to start all over again."
That same year was a dance recital year. Her teacher had to keep reminding her she wasn't the director of the number they were performing in. She was a dancer, and she should let Mary run the show...Mary did know what she was doing.
At 12 she had her heart broken by girls she thought were her true friends. Lucky for her, I happened to be at a house, where unbeknownst to me I poured out my pain FOR her to a friend, who I never knew, until moments later, was a therapist. She talked me off the ledge. The following week, when I asked Bella if she had spoken to the girls about how they treated her, she said, "MOM! (with gritted teeth) If I am over this you really need to be too."
Bella's character is something I admire tremendously. She stays true to who she is. She rarely sweats the small stuff, unless it's school work, in which case this entire post is null and void.
Over the years, time and time again she has walked tall and proud while in the face of a painful situation. Bella has had to tell me to chill out more than a few times.
Yesterday, two events happened. After she shared them with me she looked at me, slightly amused, and said, "Are you crying?!" My response was, "Bella, I cry at your disappointments while you roll with the punches." Typically, she rolled her eyes.
I watched her walk into the house with a smile on her face and all I could think was, "I hope when I grow up I am just like her."
Does Bella drive me batshit crazy? Of course, she's a 16 year old girl.
When they were very young, one of my kids said to me, "My job is to drive you crazy. You job is to deal with it."
Before she left for school this morning I shared with Bella that today's blog was all about her. When she asked why I said, "Because you are amazing." Her response? "Well yeah, everyone knows that."
Parenting. It's never easy. The instruction manual they gave us when they were born is nonexistent.
It is never "luck" when a kid is terrific. It is hard work from the get go with consistent expectations, responsibilities and reactions.
Here's to all the amazing kids we are raising. They are our future, and they will be our caregivers, (god help us) and so, let's hope we get it right.
Thanks Bella, for teaching me grace. For teaching me to stand proud no matter what. For making us laugh every single time we eat together as a family, even if it means starting the same story over five separate times. For being the kid I am so unbelievably proud to call my daughter.
You are, indeed, the love of my life. (Don't tell your brother...)
I invite YOU to share the stories of YOUR amazing kids, I'd love to read them!
The second that you were born
I knew that you were the love of my life
Quite simply the love of my life
You are the love
The great love of my life