Saturday night I took her to the University of Minnesota gymnastics meet against three other colleges. The little team she is joining was invited to do the warm-up and we wanted to see them and the college girls as well.
Well, little old me didn't know there would be a wrestling meet and a hockey game at the same time at the sports complex. Lost and late. There was no hope to see the little girls warm-up. But, I must have done something right in my life because on the way out the door I printed a little black and white map of the campus on typing paper. It saved us. Driving in the dark and snow and traffic she looked out the windows and told me what buildings we were going by. I would have been disoriented beyond the pale. We found a parking ramp, one that wasn't for season ticket holders or visiting dignitaries. . . Okay. I haven't been to a collegiate sporting event since the Cyclones played the Hawkeyes in Ames in 1982. I'm out of touch.
As the minutes ticked by at stoplight after stoplight she watched the clock. Mama, we're not gonna make it are we? No, honey, we're not gonna see the girls. When I finally pulled the SUV into a postage stamp parking spot and we crawled out the tailgate she said, "thank you Mama for driving in all that traffic to take me here."
They threw towels and all the little girls ran to get one. She was slow and shy and missed it. I went to raise my hand and they were all gone. It's okay, she said.
Thanks again for the popcorn. And the ice cream. And the stuffed gopher.
Sometimes, your kid just overwhelms you with gratitude and grace and sweetness. In the words of her guitar hero, Taylor Swift, "I had the best day with you, today."
Why don't we do this more? One on one? I've had the same experience with my son. He's a different creature alone.
I believe that deep down, we all have the need to be loved alone. To develop singular relationships. I know I do. I don't want to be one of a thousand friends. Maybe it's the introvert in me but I always do better one on one. That's why I love teaching kids one at a time.
Our children are like that too. Sometimes they just need us all to themselves. I need to remember that.
W.H. Auden - "For the error bred in the bone of each woman and each man craves what it cannot have, not universal love but to be loved alone."