Sunday, May 18, 2008


"A man's delight in looking forward to and hoping for some particular satisfaction is a part of the pleasure flowing out of it, enjoyed in advance." Arthur Schopenhauer

I remember the feeling as a child. Looking forward to something so deeply I made myself sick. I remember not being able to sleep, lying there imagining how the event was going to be, who would be there, what I would wear and what we would eat. Rarely did it ever live up to my expectations, but that was somehow okay, because the anticipation was enough.

Yesterday Delaney was invited to a birthday party for a friend from school, Ysabel. Beginning Friday night the excitement was evident. It was hard to get her to settle down and she already had her outfit picked out. I tried to warn her that 4 pm the next day was a very long time from now. After waking at 6:45 am she began hours of art projects, making card after card for her friends who would also be at the party. You could see the wheels in her head racing, every once in awhile asking a question about what I thought the party would be like. Finally, it was time to go. She stood by the door proudly carrying the Webkins Panda she had chosen for a gift. (Webkins are the craze for her class right now--who has which one, who has the most. I think Delaney has six, which I thought was a lot until one of the girls at the party told Delaney and I in a very superior tone she has collected them all, close to one hundred. Oh the "inadequacies" our children are made to feel so early from emphasis on material possessions.)

After a day of rain, the sun had gloriously come out as we turned into the drive. I have always loved long driveways with thoughtfully planted trees lining both sides, after years of growth making a kind of tunnel of trees. Delaney took a deep breath and said, "This is beautiful!" The girls who were already there rushed to the car to greet Delaney, and they all ran off to play in the big yard. I looked around at the rolling countryside, the cows, the big horse barn, the creek at the base of the property and thought of how different our lives have become so quickly. The girls pestered to go down and see the horses and so some of the moms finally agreed, despite the mud. The barn was full of stunning Arabians, Palominos and my favorite a horse named "Harley Davidson", a Paint horse. I could see it in Delaney's eyes--the wonder of these gorgeous creatures. Spark, a new interest and opportunity for her life. I smiled. As we left the barn the other girls rushed ahead but Delaney held back with me as if she knew we had both just experienced something very special. As we walked hand in hand back up to the party I told her about how I briefly grew to love horses when I was exactly her age and we lived in Louisville, KY and how her grandma, my mom, always had her own horse growing up and even rode bareback through the MN fields. This barn is less than a minute from our house, and we agreed that she would love to learn to ride.

The rest of the party was predictable. There was popcorn and a cotton candy machine and games. The gift bags had party blowers in them and the kids discovered if they blew them together the cows briskly came through the fields towards the barn. Watching her friend open gift after gift, including four new Webkins, Delaney's eyes grew a little green. Leaving, as we walked to the car I could see her let down begin. After a few moments of quiet she began to chatter about her birthday in September and how she wanted her party this year . . . beginning new anticipation.

As I tucked her in last night I thought about her world and how much it has changed in such a short time. I marveled at her courage and confidence with so many new peers. I laughed as I thought about her "city girl" ways and how "worldly" (and I mean that in a good way) she seems sometimes. And then I look over at her in her turtle jammies snuggled with her stuffed cow and "cheech", and I know she is still my little girl. I have finally learned as a mother no anticipation is better than living in this moment. All the hopes and dreams I have for my children can wait, because I have the sweet gift of now. Thank you.

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