Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Honor Elisabeth

Have you ever felt that you were treading water, just waiting for life to start? It felt that way today, which happens to be my daughter's twenty-first birthday. I suppose this is what got to me: why aren't I with her today? Anything that I had on the agenda paled, actually, in comparison with her luminescent beauty today. Today, of all days, I wanted to hold her in my arms and tell her how happy I am that she exists in the world, how proud I am of the woman she has become. I mean, I'm so damn proud. And tonight I make Lebanese meatballs in her honor, and as I chop the parsley and roll the meat and eggs and bread in my hands, she is all I think about.

I didn't know she would be a girl. I'd had a boy and I thought boys were the greatest things ever and I convinced myself that another boy would be wonderful, and then she appeared, my little baby girl, and all my dreams came true. She was induced, because my doctor is in Beverly Hills, and because I am a princess, by proxy, and because he was going away and she was due on Valentine's Day. And I didn't want another doctor with his hands inside me or panicking me. My doctor was cool and laid back, and watched Oprah with me, and held my hand. "I've had four," he said "and my wife had the last three on her schedule." So I did. And there she was, this beautiful little pink thing, and she was a girl. HONOR. There was no doubt that was her name. And then this funny, tow-headed, blue-eyed, fierce, lovely, strong-willed, compassionate, sweet person appeared. I wasn't prepared. "Oh, you've met your match" said my mother-in-law. "She's going to be TROUBLE." I didn't know what she meant. I thought all little girls were supposed to be strong-willed, decisive, brilliant. I thought all little girls would fiercely decide that they would only wear the hideous bright pink sweats given them by their nanny for Christmas. I thought all little girls knew their mind like she knew her mind. I was in love. I was so in love.

We lived in a house with an apricot tree in the middle of the lawn in the garden. We'd sit under there and watch the little Norfolk terrier FEAST on the apricots. He shat yellow, got enormously fat and farty, and we loved it. And although he bit everyone, he never bit my children. They'd pick him up by the belly or the back legs or the neck, crooked in their tiny elbows, and he'd never complain.

I remember that time so well. We listened to James Taylor incessantly. Shower the people.

The years fly by. They tell you that, don't they. They say "enjoy it. It passes so quickly." And you roll your eyes and think they're ridiculous. It passes so quickly. The games, the horse shows, the birthday parties, the recitals, the Halloweens, the Coachellas, the first boyfriends, the getting high for the first time and wanting mamma, the hating you, the loving you, the only wanting you, the ignoring you, all of it. It passes so, so fast. And then, she's 21. And she's a woman and today I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't imagine how anything was as important as being with my babygirl who happens to be in Copenhagen.

And you know, as fierce as she is, as tough as she can be (oh, she's a General, no doubt) there is this soft, soft core, this sweet middle part, all full of kindness and emotion and loveliness, and I saw it today, on Skype this morning. We both cried. Nothing is better than her. She's my little buddy, my minky, my sleepover pal, she of matching pajamas and similar taste in bad movies (13 Going On 30 ftw), my little pastry chef, my bolognese maker supreme, my Donald Trump imitator, my defender of the weak and disenfranchised, my feminist, my rabble-rouser, my dog lover, horse lover, monkey lover, Prada shoe lover, my beautiful, beautiful girl.

Thank you for indulging me. My daughter often asks why I don't write about her here and I tell her because she is too close to my heart. This time, I had to write about her. I had to blurt it out because it's cathartic. I can't hold all this love inside me. Honor, I love you so much.


Katherine C. James said...

I love how you love your girl. Happy Birthday to Honor. Happy birthing day to you. Shower the people… ❤️❤️

Janelle said...

Oooo this made me cry! Totally get it. All of it. After I had had 2 boys I expected a 3rd, but instead, was showered in blessings with a girl - also induced. And there she was - this fat baby girl with her little wings still folded between chubby shoulders, plonked onto my chest. Nothing sweeter. Nothing better. Thanks for sharing. Very moving. And happy birthday to Honor. What a beautiful name. X janelle

LPC said...

So lovely. Honor is a lovely name, and Minky adorable. Somehow I feel that in this post you have revealed more of your heart than in all your previous posts about love. Thank you.

Eric S said...

This is a really beautiful tribute. I feel exceptionally lucky to call you a friend!

Paula Archer said...

Oh my gish, (spelling error, keeping it, here's to you, Lilian) - anyway, that is so, so lovely.