When she was in my womb, my first-born girl, all I did was dream about her and our life together. I would dress her in the cutest clothes, she would have the most beautiful name, she and I would be best friends someday just like my Mom and me. When she was born, I couldn’t believe how lucky we were to have been blessed with this angel.
When I dreamed these dreams, I thought that, 18 years later, we would be…
Going on college visits
Talking about boys and men and dating (and I would impart all of my wonderous knowledge)
Shopping for senior picture clothes and choosing the best photographer to capture her beauty and kind heart
Getting her ready for soccer, cross country, swimming, musicals, band…whatever her passions were going to be
Arguing with Dad over too-skimpy bathing suits and too-short shorts and boys that weren’t good enough for her (and rolling my eyes and giggling over how protective he was over his little girl)
Planning where to shop for homecoming and prom dresses
Buying her first car and watching her drive away so incredibly happy
Looking at pictures trying to decide the best hairstyle for that gorgeous main of dark-brown hair
Going to Ulta to buy makeup and hair products and nail polish we definitely didn’t need but most definitely wanted
Listening to whatever music was her favorite in the car while sprinkling in some of mom’s oldies but goodies
Talking about the importance of a few wonderful friends over a whole bunch of people who don’t understand you thoroughly
I thought we would be doing all of these typical, wonderful, mother-daughter things. I could picture it clearly. I could taste it. I could smell it. I couldn’t wait for it.
I thought I would be able to help her be self-assured, confident, body-positive and strong. She would love herself for exactly who she was, not for what she thought others wanted her to be.
I thought wrong.
That might sound sad, and at times I’m desperate with grief over what I thought we would have. But most of the time? I’m so glad I thought wrong.
Instead of college visits, we’re talking about jobs she might like to try. So far, the only job she wants is “to be a mom like you” which breaks my heart and fills me with joy at the same time. (Or a job where she can wear pajamas and play with her iPad all day and eat mac-and-cheese.)
Instead of talking about boys and dating, we are deciding just how many times it’s acceptable to go see Incredibles 2 at the theater. And planning our next movie date to see Hotel Transylvania 3 and Wreck-It Ralph 2.
Instead of shopping for clothes and makeup, we go shopping for Disney stuffed animals and Troll dolls to play with in the bathtub and the pool. You can’t imagine how happy she is for $14. (Although don’t you worry. The Grandmas and Mom still buy her cute clothes; she could just care less unless it’s pajamas.)
Instead of sports or musicals, we’re anxiously awaiting the start of adaptive ice skating and choir concerts. We’re simply proud and joyful that she has found two things that she loves.
Dad still thinks shorts are too short and tops are cut too low. I guess that never changes.
She wishes she could drive and that continues to break our hearts. Instead of watching her drive away in her first car, we talk about how she can drive the cool old-fashioned cars the next time we go to Cedar Point and let her go for rides with her brother.
She has the most beautiful dark-brown pixie-cut hair I’ve ever seen.
We listen to Backyardigans and the Trolls soundtrack, but she also loves P!nk and Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson.
She does have best friends. Me, Matt, Gabe, Matthew, her Grandmas and about 1,000 stuffed animal friends. I always say it’s better to have 4 quarters than 100 pennies when it comes to friends. Guess what? That’s what she has.
She is happy every day. She is confident. She is self-assured. She doesn’t give a damn about what others think of her. She is kind. She is smart. She is funny. She is full of pure joy. She is everything and more than what I dreamed she would be.
I thought I wanted the Olivia in my dreams, but I thought wrong.
I wanted the Olivia in my reality.
Thank God I was wrong.