Oh, sweet girl. You were suddenly stricken with a 102 temperature. When I told you that you were indeed sick, you immediately burst into tears.
“But it is my congratulation (graduation) tomorrow!” you wailed, tears streaming down your face. “Cake…present!” was all I could make out between the sobs.
I was stricken with this same virus, as was your brother and baba this week and in all of that craziness, I thought your congratulation was next week, not tomorrow.
And in some way, you willed yourself better. We decided one hour before your congratulation that you were indeed well enough and fever free long enough to go.
And when they lined you up outside that sanctuary for your congratulation, your daddy could see you waiting outside. “They are lining her up,” he whispered.
We waited each excruciating moment to delight in your presence. Those two minutes seemed like thirty waiting to see your smiling face walk down that aisle in your perfect pink dress and cowboy boots.
You picked the outfit, and we compromised on the pigtails. I wanted pigtails, knowing that my days with those sweetly positioned tails are fading.
As you came through the doors, I heard your daddy say, “She is looking for us.” When you found us in the sea of proud parents, your face immediately communicated delight. Those are my people, it said. Your eyes widened and your wave was so big, as if you were there solely to find us. But we were there to celebrate you.
You. Sweet girl from Yongfeng, Jiangxi, China. In three years, you have come so incredibly far.
You told the crowd that you wanted to be a cowgirl when you grow up.
After the congratulation, you asked me with concern, “Am I growing up?”
“You are!” we said.
That answer seemed to trouble you. Just as much as I long to keep you in pig tails, you long to forever be our little girl. We both seem to recognize the days of pigtails and childhood are fleeting.
“But when I grow up, will I still be your baby? Will you still be my family?”
With a firmness in our voices, we assured you, “You will always be our baby and we will always be your family.” We assured ourselves too.