February 14, 1996 I found out I was expecting. On October 17, 1996 I gave birth to a baby girl, 7 lbs 9 ounces at 7:45 am. After cleaning her up, a nurse handed her to me and I stared into her beautiful little face wondering how on earth could I have lived without this little person in my life. I held her in my arms and said to her, “You are so little, I cannot imagine you being a year old!” The brilliance of the autumn leaves filled the window. My heart was full.
In 2001, I registered this little girl for kindergarten at the school next to our home. It my mother’s high school. It was my middle school and now, it was to be her elementary school. On the paper telling me what class she was in was her graduation date. 2015. 2015? That was so far away! I had years before I would have to think about her graduating.
This past week I have been reflecting about Elizabeth, how she came to be and how we have lived our lives together the past 18 years. I have thought about her first drawings of blobs with tiny smiley faces in them. Watching her draw stars with my best friend, Christy at the kitchen table. Reading her stories every night, tucking her in, getting her ready for school. Meeting (and sometimes marrying) different people whom I thought would make our lives whole, not realizing that we were just fine as we were. Me and my Sweet Pea.
Today I watched her put on her cap and gown in preparation to make the final walk as a high school student. The hardwood floors of Mt. Pleasant school have ended here, on the athletic field of Plymouth North. I looked at the faces around me of the students and of her. It reminded me of that first day when I held her and looked into her beautiful face – full of promise and hope. What would she be like? Would she love to swim as much as I did? Would she love to laugh and sing? Would she have her father’s musical talents or be a writer like me? How would she see the world?
Twenty five years ago it was my moment to walk beneath the blue and white flowers towards the podium. Today it is her turn. I cannot express what these past 12 years have been like watching her walk through the very halls I walked through as a Plymouth student. Learning from a curriculum my mother created in the schools my grandmother helped build.
Elizabeth is everything I ever dreamed she would be. She is beautiful, insightful, poetic, artistic, incredibly talented all wrapped up within a beautiful old soul. I could not have asked for a daughter better than what I was given, for I was given something more precious than anything on this earth. I was given an Elizabeth Marie Sheldon.