Back then – almost twenty years ago – when I spent more time with my daughters in a day than a week they grew up, This One's for the was one of our favorite car song anthems for Martina McBride Girls. It's an upbeat song that celebrates the big dreams and the big love that lead us to overcome current fears – whether as a 13-year-old being bullied, a 25-year-old scraping pasta at the start or as a 42 -year-old who noticed the first signs of aging. It's also a great song for these times that reminds us that even in the middle of the action, there is a light at the end of this tunnel.
Until the pandemic, I hadn't thought about the song much over the years. After all, now that they have gone to college and spend the summers doing other jobs, my daughters are usually home a few times a year for a week or two a year. And even when they are, it's rare that I take them around in the car or on the subway like I did when they were little.
But as with many families with college-aged children, the pandemic took my daughters home for a full five months. And although we've spent most of the time in our own little worlds (law practice for me, math PhD and graduate school classes, and math tutoring), I managed to persuade (um, force) them to take a trip back in time take to the mall in Washington DC where we spent so much time when they were little girls.
After those five months, that goodbye on the way to school and college was particularly bittersweet – more than the many I've documented over the years – here, here, and here. Not only did the pandemic give me more time to spend with my daughters, it also gave me a glimpse into their adult life that I rarely see: how hard their chosen main math is, how good they are at math, and how hard they work on it, how talented they are are into teaching math and explaining to kids and classmates who teach them (apple doesn't fall far from the tree) how loyal and supportive they are to their friends, and what remarkable people they have become. As a parent, like with the pandemic, I'll always give them a soft landing, but as far as I can tell, my job is done.
So this post is for the girls. Especially my girls who rolled with grace and good humor on the bumps in the road ahead of the pandemic and other challenges; for showing how it's done and giving myself reason to keep going when I often didn't feel like doing it.
But this post is for all of you girls too – from "one to ninety-nine" (as Martina McBride sings). If you are a lawyer, mothers and owners struggling through the insecurity and stress and numbing hardship of days of work and children and laundry that seemingly never-ending, I can tell you that this too will pass faster than that You can ever imagine. Do your best to enjoy the days, find something to laugh about, and try not to sweat because one day, like me, you may wish yourself a little time back.