In the last two weeks I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with a spunky 3 year old. With skinny legs and big blue eyes, this toddler reminds me of my own daughter. She has the same build as my girl did at that age, only this wee one is a blonde. Mine is a brunette.
|My daughter Rebecca at 2 1/2 years old in April 1991|
Her mama had her at 16. I had my baby girl in my 20s. Her mama works outside the home. I was a stay-home mom. Her biological father is not in her life. My daughter’s daddy was, and still is.
Despite our differences and decades apart as mothers of preschoolers, I enjoy watching how this beautiful young woman interacts with her daughter. She loves her just as I love mine. I give her a thumbs-up for choosing life and braving the world as a single mom.
At times, I wish I could do my mothering all over again. I would have painted my little girl’s toenails every other day instead of every other week. I would have been more patient with the things she liked—arts and crafts just weren’t my thing. I would have listened more intently to her words instead of thinking about my to-do list.
Although there will always be the “would haves,” I do recall everything I did right. I washed her hair with a gentle touch because of her tender scalp. I sang “Over the Rainbow” to her. I snuggled with her and her brother, and read stories such as “The Little Engine That Could,” “Blueberries for Sal,” and “Love You Forever.”
As a little girl, she seemed to lag behind her peers, quiet and reserved. I worried. I tried to teach her over and over how to skip, a simple yet difficult motor skill for children to master. At other times I would get mad, thinking she wasn’t listening on purpose. I would later learn she could not hear clearly.
At age five, and after two ruptured eardrums, the doctor removed her tonsils. Her ear infections became a thing of the past. Words no longer sounded as though she was hearing them underwater. She blossomed, coming out of her shell.
She finally learned how to skip, too. Oh, how proud she was to show her daddy this latest feat. Lifting one knee and then the other, she skipped around and around in circles, a smile lighting up her little pixie face.
Childhood passed too soon. My young one became a young teen, then a young adult. Now she's 23 and on her own. Some of the choices she has made boggle my mind, yet she knows I love her unconditionally. Just like the mama of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl I’ve enjoyed being around lately.
Interacting with this precious toddler brings an all-too-familiar pang to my heart. A longing that shows up suddenly every now and then—to hold my daughter as a child. Just once more.