"Who are you looking for?" the unfamiliar preschool teacher asked me. "Elizabeth," I responded.
Miss I can't remember her name checked me out, looked me up and down, and stated rather bluntly, "Are you her babysitter?" Surely, you pale-skinned and overly-done blond-haired person belong to some other kid, she seemed to be thinking.
"I'm her mom," I said, with an I'm used to it smile. "She's mine. Definitely my daughter."
Elizabeth ran toward me wearing clothes full of must have had a great day dirt. Her dark hair dangling into her face even though she kept pushing it away. Elizabeth's olive-toned skin glistened in the sunshine.
The first time I took Liz out into the world to share her spirit, and her makes everyone feel happy smile, I was constantly told "she's so beautiful" and "she must resemble her dad". I thanked those complimenting people and admitted that, yes, she got her father's Honduran looks; they held her hand, touched her baby-soft skin and cooed to her. All Elizabeth had to do was smile. People fell in love.
Elizabeth is my daughter. My happiness.
I remember when Liz was a small child, just learned to stand solo, when I had purchased, via snail-mail, a variety of my style clothing. 6 outfits in all. I figured if she didn't look like me, maybe she could at least dress like me if I was an almost one year old. I put one outfit on her after another.
Something dark-purple with polka dots and lime green tights, beanie included. Click, click went the camera.
Pin-striped blue-and-white overalls, a bear-face slouching on her tummy; a bow on top of her head, picture perfect.
A light pink like cotton candy sweatshirt dress, ruffles two in fact toward the bottom with a pink ribbon attached. Little pink Vans stuffed with little toes wrapped in white socks. A small chunk of dark hair wrapped in a band. Such a tiny ponytail. Snapshot.
She smiled while wearing a barely there pink jumpsuit, light blue trim. Flash, bright light in her eyes.
Another jumpsuit, this time green; underneath she wore a gold turtle-neck. No shoes. No socks. Only bare feet. Cute picture.
Turquoise shorts topped with a tie-dyed all the rage t-shirt. She fiddled with the lacy white socks.
All done Elizabeth smirked seriously no more sarcastically, allowing me to plop her diaper-only self onto the small wooden chair.
As she grew older, I quickly discovered, for the most part, Liz's choice of clothing is the opposite of mine. I wear jeans, t-shirts, and either a sweatshirt or a cardigan all the time. My hair is always pulled back.
She prefers dresses. She allows her hair to flow gracefully over her shoulder.
I like tennis shoes. They comfort me, and my feet.
Elizabeth? Heels. She's as tall as me! wedges, on I'm feeling it days.
How about when it comes to exercise? Should I be embarrassed? I think not. I love, and I mean love, to wear baggy too big for me workout gear.
Liz? Well, of course, everything is fitted nicely; and looks so modern. So hip.
So, it may seem that Elizabeth and I are different. In looks, sure. Clothing, yeah; mostly. But in how we feel about each other. We are equals. I love her. More deeply so than she can ever know. She loves me, unconditionally. Faithfully. This world is a better place because Liz is in it. Her smile enhances life as we know it daily. Elizabeth is my daughter. Elizabeth is my friend.
I brought you home with me, 23 years and eight months ago. I held you in my arms while you slept. Fed you when you cried. Bathed you, soothed you.
Your smile has grown with you, never wavering. You have maintained a kindness I wish the whole world would embrace and make their own.
When you were a young girl, you would hold my hand - knowing I would always be by your side, guiding you. You looked up at me with a love I had never known before; a love only a child can give. So innocent; yet full of life.
As you grew into your teens, you continued to open up to me; let me be a part of your life. You trusted me; I trusted you. I cherished the fact that you would come to me, talk to me, tell me everything knowing I would help you figure things out.
You, Elizabeth, have made mothering a wonderful experience for me. I am very proud of the road you travel. The calmness you possess. The friendships you hold close. The love you share. Everyone should have an Elizabeth in their life.
I Love You truly,MOM
P.S. Hug me all you want. Warmth is a wonderful feeling.