There is absolutely nothing that compares to having a daughter. Although I missed out on a relationship with my own mother, I’ve tried to create that bond with Courtney, my precious girl.
It wasn’t always easy. She was so very STUBBORN. Even before the doctor removed her from my womb, she was crying, demanding attention. I think she screamed the first six months of her life, but it seemed like it would never end. Her brother, Stephen, though only 2 years older than she, even asked me at one point if the doctor could “put her back in and pull out a brother.” Little did I know that the personality that God had given her when she was conceived would be my biggest challenge as her mother.
My favorite memory of the many, many times she insisted on her way was when I caught her creating “art” in the hallway. Stephen had done the same thing when he was about her age, but a simple scolding and telling him how disappointed his dad would be was all that was needed to stop him. Courtney was a different story. Upon discovery, I found her very focused on her work. But when I told her to stop, threatening to spank her (yes, in those days, spanking was an option) instead of stopping, she ran from me, dragging the colored marker along the way.
At the age of 2, Courtney was making her mark on my walls. My job – to mold her (and channel her creativity away from my walls onto paper) without breaking her spirit. She was so insistent on her own way, and daily had to be “reminded” that in life, there are rules.
I used to go to bed at night and cry over the many times during the day I had to discipline her. Exhausted, I felt a combination of guilt and responsibility. I knew I had to win the battle, yet had to choose which battles to fight.
There were days I thought she would one day grow up to despise me, when all I wanted was for her to be the woman she was created to be. I made mistakes. I yelled. I even crossed the line and read her diary when she was a teen, desperate to know her, to mother her, and to keep her from making wrong choices as I had done.
It is so hard to believe that she is no longer a child, but a woman. A woman I respect, admire, and am proud of. I want to be her when I grow up.
All those disputes over silly things have proven that in spite of my many flaws as her mother, she has embraced the gifts given to her. That stubborn facet of her personality is the pillar that gives her courage to face challenges and adversity.
Her stubbornness paid off in December, 2005 when she received not only the acceptance letter granting her admission to New York University, but a full tuition scholarship. I had never been so proud, and yet so sad at the same time.
Leaving her in that dorm room in New York that September day, 2006, was probably one of the hardest days of my life. I cried, and cried, and cried. Ugly cry. Crying so much my own husband didn’t want to sit next to me on the plane ride back to Oklahoma. My baby had grown up overnight, and now she was 1500 miles away…
I absolutely, completely, and unabashedly love my Courtney. I live my life through her. The opportunities she has been given by being at NYU are priceless. Missing her is something that I’ve grown accustomed to, but there are times when the tears fall and I want to hold her, to hug her, to tuck her in at night and know that she’s safe.
That stubbornness that God gave her, that caused me so much grief, has paid off. Without that, she would never be able to make it in the Big Apple, and as they say, if she can make it there, she can make it anywhere.
Just like that day when she was little more than 2 years old, she is making her mark on the world. So many gifts. Graphics, design, music, movies – you name it – when it comes to entertainment media, she’s the expert. But when she writes, when she puts words together, when she takes the 26 letters of the alphabet and creates a journalistic masterpiece, she amazes me. She inspires me to be better.