Nineteen

Postcards & Prosecco

Oxford, Mississippi

Edition 01  August 2016

Year two arrived with her first apartment unlocking the promise and possibility that awaits the young. Nineteen and fearless, she does not look back. She is no longer mine. Although, I’m not certain any strong willed daughter every really belongs to her mother.  My heart bursts with equal parts pride and pain. Pride, as I see her making her way in the world and pain, saying goodbye with so many miles between us.

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Nineteen The promise and the possibility that awaits

He is a well-dressed, southern charmer, in the heart of Dixie. Skilled in the art of conversation, opening doors, and extending welcoming invitations. He has stolen her heart. Oxford, Mississippi and Ole Miss are impossible to resist.

Ole Miss

Fulton Chapel University of Mississippi

Together they are rod iron roof tops, Etta James singing sweetly in the background, and the sun kissing the sky goodnight. It is sorority row, hands held in public prayers, and a canopy of trees lining the Grove. It is yes ma’am, no sir, cornmeal crusted fried green tomatoes, and SEC football. It’s a pickle martini in the manicured yet frazzled hand of a mother remembering what it felt like to be nineteen.

This is the place she loves and now calls home. She is the happiest she has ever been. And that fact alone fills me with gratitude for you Ole Miss. She is my treasure, and the living legacy of a father that left this world too soon. I have poured my heart and soul into this child, and now entrust her to you.

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Bid Day at Ole Miss Delta Gamma

I have a request of you Dear Oxford. Teach her well. Be kind. Fill her up, with all that is wonderful about this little corner of the world. So that someday, when it is time for her to venture out of the velvet ditch, she may sing your song of the south. I pray she will be better because of her time with you, made stronger in body, mind, and spirit and empowered to share her gifts with the rest of the world.

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Thirteen Firsts

Postcards & Prosecco

Florida

Edition 01  August 2014
DKW first day of school

First day of kindergarten

I remember the frantic pace of the morning as if it were yesterday. The backpack and breakfast, the box-pleated jumper and bike shorts, and the navy and white saddle shoes to carry her through kindergarten.

The shoes were special, an early indicator that this raven haired child was a product of the verdant greens of northeast Florida. The shoes she insisted upon having, and grew frustrated when I couldn’t make sense of her request. With the dramatic flare of a first-born self -assured daughter, she let out a sigh and exclaimed, “Mom, you know. The shoes the golfers wear.” Ah yes, the shoes the golfers wear. And that small exchange, at the tender age of five was one of the many ways Danielle let me know she had her own ideas about the world.

On this morning it was time to wear the saddles. With great pride she laced up her shoes and walked out of her room ready for her big day. As for me, no matter how early the morning begins, I always fall prey to the last minute rush. The hurried mix of adrenalin and panic coupled with disbelieving glances at a clock that seemed a friend but a moment ago. And this morning was no different. The rush out the door with my camera, and a very sullen little sister, upset because she was too young to attend “the big school.” And yet I captured this sweet moment of excitement and confidence on film. With the morning sunshine lighting her way, she climbed into the car, smiled a glorious grin, and was off to school.

And now here it is, twelve short Augusts later. The saddles have long been retired, the uniform a detail of the past. But the same fevered and frantic pace returned again this morn. This time with black coffee and bag lunches, blow dryers and mascara, and another pair of new shoes, silver and blue Jack Rodgers, to christen the start of her final year of high school. This time it’s not the clock but the calendar I look at with disbelief. And again this morning, for what will be the last time, I captured the sunshine and smile, with a lump in my throat, as my beautiful daughter walks into the promise and possibility of this her senior year of high school.