I Am AmazedSeptember 24, 2009 by Rita Messina
I am having dinner tonight with my two daughters. The lasagne is in the oven, and to accompany it there will be garlic bread, salad, wine and spumoni ice cream. Remind me to open the wine to let it breathe soon. My daughter’s are not here to remind me, they left to go for a walk in the warm evening of this lovely gift of a fall day. They tease me that they have to check me at the door to make sure I am wearing my underwear. My once fairly sharp mind is not so sharp anymore, but I blame that on what I went through raising them. They pat me on the head more and say to me “It’s a good thing you’re cute, Muffin.” They will take my ATM card from me and finish the process if I stop to try to read the directions. But I know when we are together there is going to be a lot of laughter as we tease each other over our idiosycrancies.
Somewhere along the line, they became the best of friends. With almost five years difference in their ages it was not always the case. When Katie was born, Lisa stepped proudly into the role of big sister. Katie had a few medical problems at birth and we had to take her back to the hospital every day for a week for blood draws. They would take our tiny little baby girl and slice her heel for a blood draw. Lisa had finally had enough one day and when I handed Katie to the nurse, Lisa yelled at her loudly telling her not to hurt her baby sister.
As the years passed, there was the normal fighting and the bickering that most normal families suffer. There was one winter when the snow was well over a foot and we had been house bound for several days. I thought I would go crazy with it and we were all suffering from cabin fever. I finally put both of them on the front porch and told them to finish the fight outside, sans coats. When they were done fighting they could ring the doorbell and I would let them in. It didn’t take long for them to finish their fight in temperature’s that hovered in the 20’s. There were more times than I can count where Lisa would stomp away, angry with me, when I asked her to take her little sister with her. I didn’t feel too guilty as both of Lisa’s friend’s had little brother’s and sisters they had to watch also.
In spite of their sibling rivalry, Lisa never let go of being the protective big sister. I realized one day that a beautiful bowl from France that I loved was missing. Lisa told me she had accidentally broken it while vacuuming. How do you reprimand anybody who is cleaning the house? Years later I found out Katie had broken it playing around.
My marriage came with many fights and Lisa would quietly take Katie into one of their rooms and shut the door while my ex and I battled away and she would soothe Katie. I don’t think I will ever get over that. But in spite of all the mistakes I made raising my daughters, I did it with a lot of love and I know that they know that.
Lisa is my nurturing daughter that took care of our world. She took care of Katie, she took care of the house while we worked and she would even help to take care of the yard work. She worried about everything in spite of me trying to convince her that it was my job to do the worrying. I guess I didn’t worry enough for her so she kept doing it. Lisa tried to be the peacemaker in the family during my contentious divorce. She took care of Katie and me during the divorce and for quite a while afterwards. She grew up into a beautiful, funny, strong woman and has had the luck of finding and falling in love with her soul mate. She could not have picked a more perfect partner. Michael and Lisa complement each other and Michael has proved himself many times to be a wonderful and loving husband. When Lisa and I talk, she tells me everything and I do mean everything! Sometimes it’s just TMI but I wouldn’t trade our conversations for anything in the world. I just try not to flinch too much….
Katie is my sprite. As a baby, she would hum and sing to her food and when she learned to walk she would dance into every room on her tippy toes singing away. I learned early on to go through her pockets and remove the interesting items she had collected during the day. The worms, the beetles, the frogs, some of them still alive. She is so bright, so lovely and one of the funniest people I know. She was the child that would sit on the handlebars of her tricycle and go down the stairs which is where my pre-mature gray hair came from. As we worked diligently doing yard work she would put on her skates, pull one weed and skate down to the bucket, drop it in and repeat the procedure in spite of us telling her she was wasting time. She was doing it in her own way and making it fun. Combined with all of this she has grown into a woman with ambitions for herself and I am so proud of her. Katie is the daughter that tells me nothing, she just smiles her Mona Lisa smile as I try to dig out the latest news on the boyfriend front. But I’m not giving up on that one!
I am amazed that these two wonderful creatures came from me. Yes, my ex had something to do with it, but I’ll take most of the credit. I remember one day telling a then current boyfriend that I was so lucky to have two such great daughters. He turned to me and said “Luck had nothing to do with, it was hard work, pure and simple”. Yes, it was hard work but it was love, it was laughter, it was a wonderous journey and I cherished every moment of it. And somewhere along the line, we became the best of friends.