Last Saturday I accompanied our middle school chorus on piano at a district choir competition. Imagine my surprise when, while enjoying the performance of another middle school's choir, I looked up onto the risers and saw my daughter Megan! This was a particular surprise since Megan is (a) 22 years old, and (b) attending college in Utah, some 2,200 miles away. (She does, however, enjoy singing!)
Well okay, it wasn't really Megan. But the young woman on the risers looked a lot like her. It was her hair that caught my attention first; long and curly, and looking a bit like she might have to wrestle it into submission on occasion, just like Megan's. Her smile was reminiscent of Megan's too, and Megan smiles a lot, especially these days, since she's getting married in less than three months. And the girl had a look about her, one of fierce determination or intense concentration.
Seeing Megan's teenage doppelganger brought a flood of warm memories into my heart, memories of the days when my daughters were little girls. Don't get me wrong--I like them grown up too. But the memories are different. We don't dance much to Stevie Wonder's "Skeletons in the Closet" any more, and we don't hang upside down on the horizontal support bar of the swing set too much either. (Truth is, we don't even have a swing set any more!) We don't jump on the trampoline or do cartwheels together (which is a good thing, because the last time I tried that my body let me know in no uncertain terms that it was time to find a different shared activity). There are no tail-ends of pigtails to curl around my finger, no matching outfits to hunt for, no jelly shoes to buy. But although my little girls are grown, they've left behind these happy memories--and many, many more.
We have a plaque on the wall in our family room, designed like one of those old-fashioned silhouettes. A little girl is leading a goose by a ribbon tied around its neck, and the caption reads: "If we could see laughter, it would look like little girls." Today I thank my not-so-little girls for all the smiles and laughter they've brought into my life. And I look forward to my daughters and I making special memories in the years ahead with a new generation of little girls.