When my youngest was born I was perplexed by a few who commented, “Hopefully the next one will be a girl”. I was delighted to have another child and I didn’t care if I was having boy or a girl. I just knew I wanted another baby.
I was happy raising my two sons and never had a daughter.
When my youngest was in high school he met a girl, and by the time he was a senior they were an item. I was concerned because I knew his path would take him far away after graduation. I hated to see young love torn apart and I was even more concerned to see any young woman chasing after a man instead of following her own dreams.
But Amber was different. She not only helped him towards his path of acceptance into the Naval Academy, but she also wished him well and then set off on her own journey.
I remember the day I helped her pack her little Honda Civic full of her prized possessions so she could make the cross-country trip to college in Bangor, Maine. We were trying to fit everything into that little car and when I opened the trunk to see if I could make room for more, I was surprised to see it packed full.
The look of panic on her face when I suggested she leave some behind was so endearing, I didn’t have the heart to take one single book out.
Since that day, I’ve come to know this remarkable young woman so much better.
She has been my daughter-in-law for eight years now, but she has become so much more to me.
We talk almost daily and I have to laugh when she calls and says, “Okay, pretend you aren’t my Mother-in-law for a minute”, and then asks advice about sex after childbirth, or laments the frustrations of married life.
She is funny and witty, well read (remember those books?) and so very beautiful. Amber has the prettiest crooked smile surrounded by freckles and curly red hair. She can cook up a storm, and is quick to offer to make your favorite meal for your birthday.
But today is her birthday.
And her husband is gone flying jets or testing something for the Navy and she is home alone with their girls. She is hesitant to ask if I can come, not wanting to inconvenience me, and makes sure to give me an out.
But of course I will go. She is my family and I want to celebrate her birthday.
She is the daughter I never had.