She is born. It was 7:35 in the morning when she made her presence known among us. It was a simple cry, but she was easily soothed. She had a crop of dark hair on her head, and beautiful big blue eyes. She looked so small in her car seat when we drove her home from the hospital, and I wondered if she would ever be big enough for that seat. She was not just a “good” baby – she was the “best” baby! She slept through the night very early on, would smile and giggle at everything around her. And she loved, and everyone she came in contact with fell in love with her, and was captivated by her.
She is so quiet. When she was young, I would explain it as “shy.” As she grew into a young woman, I would change my definition. She was not shy, she was excessively observant. She watched everyone and everything, and would internalize what she saw, felt, heard, and touched. In the future, it would be retold in her art and writing.
She is touched by death. And she felt it keenly. The loss of her beloved pet, after she had conquered her deep fear of dogs. He was a spark of pure love, and he would greet her every day after school, and sit by her on the couch as she finished her homework, and curl up with her on her bed, protecting her from the monsters in the closet. The loss of her Papa, the man who prayed for a granddaughter, and was thrilled when she arrived in his life. The man who was patient, and loving, and played with her. Her “nap buddy.” I cannot count the times I would walk into the family room, and would find my father sitting in the overstuffed chair, squished along one side, head back, snoring LOUDLY; while Amanda’s small body would be curled into his side, sleeping soundly. She would miss, for years, the man who would never let her pass by him without giving her a hug, telling her how much she was loved, or giving a simple, “you are a good girl, Amanda.”
She is creative. So creative! Not in one area, but in many. Her art has won awards, and adorns the walls in my private art gallery. When people compliment, gawk, and sigh at their beauty and intricate detail, she shrugs her shoulders. Her writing is amazing, and very visual, and deeply personal. I hope she will share it with the world soon. And she has vision; of how things should look, how stories should be told, and ways in which she would like to tell them. I cannot wait to see her mind’s eye on the big (or small) screen. It will be a thing of beauty. She inspires me to be better. She is a huge supporter, and a fair but tough critique. And I trust her insights.
She is 19 today. And, while I miss sharing coffee in the morning, talking about books, watching Graham Norton and laughing until we cry, lunch at Panera Bread, or afternoon tea - I am so proud of the woman she has become, and where she is going. I have one birthday wish…for the love of all that is good and gracious in this world - sit back, and enjoy the ride. The years pass by so quickly. I know…you were born, and a blink of an eye later, you are 19.