From the moment my daughter was born, the very second her blue eyes looked up at mine, there were certain promises I made to her. Not one of them was spoken, written or even deliberately formed in my mind. But they came into existence nonetheless.
I promised to love her. I promised to take care of her. And I promised to never, ever jump ship for Canada in the middle of one of her temper tantrums.
My list of promises to my daughter gets longer every day. Here are a few more:
* When you tell me to leave you alone and slam your bedroom door, I promise never to leave you alone. Sometimes “go away” means “hold me closer.”
* I promise to rise in the middle of the night to change pee-soaked bedsheets and go right back to bed, without opening my eyes or my mouth.
* When you are playing hide-and-go-seek, I promise to come find you . . . eventually.
* I will honor your unyielding desire to wipe your own butt, even though it means more work for me. Honestly, how does poop get on the ceiling?
* I promise not to combat your tantrums with a tantrum of my own.
* I’ll let you dip your oranges into ketchup and your apples into Italian dressing if it makes you happy.
* I will take into consideration whether watermelon lip balm classifies as a serving of fruit.
* I will not use your crayons to write my column, balance my checkbook or take notes in graduate school.
* I will resist texting the babysitter every 17 minutes to ask how you’re doing.
* I will, whenever possible, respect your right to choose, unless you choose to hide my mascara or cut your own hair.
* Every time you say you hate me or I’m the meanest mommy ever, I will write a check and ship it off to your college fund. Look out Harvard, here she comes!
* And finally, I promise that, no matter what you say or do, I will be here for you. If you come home one day with blue hair, a bunch of weird tattoos and a boyfriend named Spike, you will always be my daughter. From the moment I first held your tiny body in my arms, I have loved you unconditionally — and I will love you that way for the rest of your life.