Back in the day –almost twenty years ago — when I spent more time with my daughters in the span of a day than I do in a week now that they’re grown, one of our favorite car-song anthems was This One’s for the Girls by Martina McBride. It’s a peppy song that celebrates the big dreams and big love that propel us to overcome momentary angst – whether as a 13-year old who is bullied, a 25-year old scraping by on noodles while starting out or the 42-year old noticing her the first signs of aging. It’s also a great song for these times, one to remind us that even in the thick of it all, there is a light at the end of this tunnel.
Up until the pandemic, I hadn’t thought of the song much over the years. After all, now that my daughters have gone to college and spend summers at jobs away, they’re typically home a week or two at a time a few times a year. And even when they are, it’s rare for me to be shuttling them around in the car or on metro as I did back when they were little.
But as with many families with college-aged kids, the pandemic brought my daughters home for a full five months. And though we still spent most of that time in our own little worlds (law practice for me, math Phd and grad school classes and tutoring math for them), I managed to persuade (er, force) them to take a drive down memory lane to the Washington D.C. mall where we spent so much time when they were little girls.
After those five months, this goodbye as they left for grad school and college have been particularly bittersweet – more so than the many that I’ve documented over the years – here , here and here. The pandemic not only gave me more time physically with my daughters, but also a sneak peek into their adult lives that I rarely see: how hard their chosen major math is, just how good they are at math yet how hard they also work at it, how talented they are at teaching math and explaining it to kids and classmates they tutor (apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, after all), how loyal and supportive they are of their friends and what remarkable humans they have become. As a parent, I’ll always provide a soft landing for them as in the pandemic, but as far as I can tell my work is done.
So this post’s for the girls. Foremost, my girls who rolled with the bumps in the road that were the pandemic and other challenges before it with grace and good humor; for showing me how it’s done and giving me reason to keep moving forward when I often didn’t feel like it.
But this post is also for all of you girls – from “one to ninety-nine” (as Martina McBride sings). If you are a lawyer, moms and owners struggling through the uncertainty and stress and numbing hardship of days full of work and children and laundry that seemingly never end, what I can say to you is that this too shall pass, faster than you can ever imagine. Do the best you can to enjoy the days, to find something to laugh about it and try not to sweat it because someday, like me, you may be wishing for a bit of that time back.