My daughter is graduating from the 8th grade today. She is not nervous or excited or sad. Other than the dress, it seems like any other school day—it would be impossible to tell something big was going on if I didn’t already know it. I often hear other parents talk about how fast it all goes and how they wish their children would stay young and small a little longer.
I don’t feel that way about Isabel.
Don’t get me wrong; I have a giant pile of great memories of Isabel at every age so far. Recently, Erica and I started transferring all of our old videotapes of Isabel as a baby and a toddler onto DVDs. Watching all that old footage reminded me of just how much fun it was to have a new human in the house every day. When we try to get Isabel to sit with us and watch, she has no interest.
It is not that I want to be done with those days because those days were especially hard or painful or bad in any way. They were not.
It’s more that of all the humans in the world, Isabel is my favorite and I want to see who she is going to be and what she is going to do and where she is going to go. I find her mind interesting and I like hearing how she thinks about things.
At 14, she is now fully her own person. There are bits and pieces of Isabel that I can trace directly back to me or Erica, but so much of her is uniquely her that I just have to shake my head sometimes and ask, “where did that come from?”
And the answer, as far as I can tell, is that came from Isabel. She is a great blend of darkly twisted and touchingly empathetic. In fact, she is the kind of person I wish I’d had as a friend in the 8th grade. And rather than wishing her young for a few more weeks or months or years, I find I can hardly wait for her to come home from college or a trip to Spain or some adventure I can’t even predict and sit with me and tell me all about it over a latte.