Through the Looking Glass...

This weekend has been a reflective one as I watched (what was once) my little girl grow up before my very eyes. We fussed over her hair and had her makeup done just so, stressed over everything looking perfect and the expectations of the moment. If I were a film maker I would have set the scene to flash back to her at age eight on the day she met her little brother.

So here is my feeble attempt at trying to paint the picture.

Scene #1: Sitting in the hair dresser's chair as the stylist styles her hair. The camera catches her reflection and zooms in as it fades to a young girl's bedroom. She is getting ready for the biggest event of her life...the birth of her little brother. This is a moment she has been imagining for quite some time. She puts on a white cotton tennis dress. She still loves wearing dresses but now that she's grown up she tries to be more casual about her dresses. After brushing her long blond hair she grabs a book. The excitement is filling her imagination. This is the book she will read to her brother in just a few moments...that is if everyone else would hurry up. Chatter fills the house as the rest of the family also prepares for this moment. Finally they walk out the door. The camera fades on the closed door and fades back in to her sitting in the hair dresser's chair smiling as the excitement of prom fills her imagination. Her thoughts are interrupted by the stylist asking what she thinks. Lauryn nods approvingly. Everything is falling in to place.

Scene #2: She is in her bedroom. It is the same room as when she was eight but decorated more sophisticated to match her maturity. Typical of a teenager's room, clothes and books are scattered on the floor. On a hanger, draping over the closet door is a long champagne-colored evening gown. This is the shot the camera pulls away from. The audio fades in. The mood is tense as you listen to two sisters fussing about the mess in the room. Words are exchanged and feelings are hurt. Mom enters to address the situation. Lauryn responds "This is not how my day was supposed to be. I am supposed to walk down the stairs..." The camera pans to the messy floor while both the picture and audio fade. Coming in to focus is the tiny hospital room overcrowded with a family of now six plus one more. As the audio fades it is clear that everyone is talking over the other. Mom is lying in the hospital bed holding the newest member of the family. His name is Ben. He is named after his grandfather because this is the name his siblings chose for him. Baby Ben has been one anticipated arrival and finally he is here! Standing behind everyone she holds her book waiting for the right moment. The one she has been dreaming of for weeks. This is the day she holds her little brother and as he sleeps in her arms she reads from the book she chose. But instead of that image she is overwhelmed with the understanding that nothing is going according to plans. Her oldest brother is sick and very disappointed that he can't hold Ben. Her younger sister is so excited she is hopping up on the bed clamoring to see more of Ben. The room is so small one can hardly move and let's not forget the fact that Ben is crying! The camera closes in on her eyes as they fight back tears. The audio fades and we are transported to the sixteen year old's bedroom. She is alone in the room staring at her dress.

Scene #3: She is putting the finishing touches on a Greek inspired prom dress. Her dark hair has a braid in the front with curls spilling down her back. Her arm is stacked with gold bangles that clink when she moves her hand and the dress flows as she walks. The moment has arrived. She begins walking down the stairs carefully...not wanting to trip or fall. It is almost too careful as utilitarian takes over grace. She cocks a sideways smile and retorts, "Yeah not the entrance you expected, huh?" to her mom who is waiting below. She is forced to have pictures made of her. Turn this way! Look that way! Oh let me get one from this angle. She can hear the commands but her mind is drifting elsewhere to another time and place. The camera fades and we are back in the hospital room. This time Lauryn is sitting in the corner on her father's lap. The words are just out of ear shot but clearly he understands her emotions. She is trying not to cry. Her book fallen on the ground. She is torn between the sheer joy of being Ben's big sister and the disappointment of plans that went array. Her father's arms are comforting and she begins to lay on his shoulder lost in her own thoughts.

As I watched my sixteen year old over the weekend, this is what played in my mind. My sweet daughter has the best laid plans and then life comes and makes it messy. The end is still as fantastic but the journey is always different than imagined.

Notes: Eventually she read her book to him many nights.
Love You Forever


Jennie said...

Shelley, you are such a great storyteller! This was a touching, heartfelt post. Lauryn looked so beautiful in both the picutres! And that book! I read that to my kids and now to the preschoolers. To this day I cannot get through it without crying. How sweet of Lauryn to read it to Ben!

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