Today as the reception following my brother’s services was beginning, my daughter left to go pick up my grandchildren. When she returned I couldn’t believe my eyes, my two grand daughters came in looking like little princesses. The fourteen month old came in wearing a long, ruffled dress and the cutest coat, and the seven year old was also dressed to the nines! She was wearing a beautiful, full length red coat and looked like Little Red Riding Hood! They both looked so beautiful! I watched them for the longest time remembering when my thirty-five year old daughter was their age. I have such incredible memories of her childhood. She was so beautiful.
As I continued to watch them a somewhat different memory came to mind…
Back in August of 1994 my wife and I were vacationing in Las Vegas. Before leaving home my nineteen year old daughter and I had a major confrontation. It was pretty bad. We were unable to resolve or differences before we had to leave on our trip. My wife and I were having breakfast the first morning, at Arizona Charlie’s when a young couple came in and sat across from us. They had their young daughter with them. She appeared to be about 5 or 6 years old. As we ate I caught myself glancing over at her. Being left handed I think it was her left handedness that first caught my attention. Before I knew it I could hardly keep my eye off her. I kept hoping her parents wouldn’t notice, they might get the idea I was some kind of a pervert.
Strange, but this young stranger had cast a spell over me. She was able to make me smile in spite of the melancholia I was feeling. She reminded me so much of my daughter when she was a child. Watching her drawing, playing and interacting with her parents brought back so many precious memories of my daughter. She made me think about all that we have shared, and sadly all that we have missed.
As I continued watching her, right before my eyes she became my daughter, the pretty little girl in the pink jacket. In that moment I felt myself smile, but at the same time I wanted to cry for all that had passed between us, the good and the not so good, especially our recent altercation. Most of all I wanted to go over to her table and tell her parents to just love her up! I wanted to tell them to enjoy each and every moment, and be as much a part of her life as possible. I wanted to tell them not to make the same mistake I did and let some of those precious moments get away. I wanted so much to tell them to be involved and do her thing instead of their own because one day they might wake up and discover that their little girl has grown up and become a young woman, and sadly wonder where all the time has gone. I wanted to tell them, to warn them, but I didn’t.
Later when we returned to our room I began to think about how that young stranger had evoked such strong emotions in me. I began to wish I had said something to her mom and dad, but imagined how offended they would have been by a stranger offering advice on the rearing of their child. They probably would have thought I was crazy!
The more I thought about it the more I wanted to fix things with my daughter, so I sat down and began writing her a letter.In that letter I apologized and expressed my hope that we never have an argument like that again. I told her that life was too short to waste on such petty issues, and told her that although we won’t always see eye to eye, we have to let our love for each other be the one constant that binds us together. I told her how much she is loved, how special she is to her mother and I and how proud we are of her. I closed the letter with: “Shoot for the Stars Little Angel, May Dreams come True For You.”
That was nearly seventeen years ago. In that time my daughter has established herself as a respectable, caring teacher, and a loving wife and mother . Now, all these years after that incident I sat watching my grand daughter’s enjoying themselves, interacting with their mom, dad and brother, and thinking just how lucky they are to be so loved.
And as I continued watching them another thought crossed my mind. I smiled and whispered “Shoot for the Stars Little Angels, May All Your Dreams Come True…..