Apparently Nora likes football. I didn't know this until we were driving home from Grandma and Grandpa's, and she just blurted it out from the backseat, a sudden confession that she must have been turning around in her mind for some time--how can I tell her?: "You know Mommy, I like football."
Wow. Nora likes football. This I did not know. The Nora I know likes watching animated cats and talking ponies. But football? I never would have guessed. Every mom, I think, has this epiphany: this person who has been with me almost 24 hours out of every day is not me. This is an entirely new and different person even though I think I've experienced everything she has experienced simply because I was there when it happened, too. More than ever I am hearing this from her: Give me some room.
And I hold the steering wheel in my hand (hoping I can finger-wave in time when the next truck passes) realizing that I'm not the only one with interests, with plans, with opinions in this car. And if Nora could drive, where would she take us?
Apparently to a football game.
I tease her all the time, handing her the car keys when we walk outside. "You mind driving today?" She half smiles, looks up with a certain shy confidence. "I can't drive, Mommy." "Oh, it's not hard at all, Nora. Just go that way really fast and when something gets in your way, turn. It's just like life." "Okay, but my legs are too short and I still don't think that is how you're supposed to drive." "Sure it is. Really. Just go straight until you have to turn. And we can tie some cans to your feet or something to reach the pedals. Or we can just put a brick down there on the go pedal and you can be the one with the right of way." She's actually considering doing it now.
We go and go and go, and like her, I want the right of way. I want to flail on the floor refusing to put on my socks and boots and coat with the too long sleeves that frustrate me and the hat that chokes under my chin. "I just want to stay home!"
And still...the world invites...and everywhere we go there is love hidden in the crevices, some laughter, some fellowship. And sometimes, just a gallon of milk.
Tonight: I am praying to learn how to let her grow beyond me, beyond my protection and plans, into her own football loving person. I'm not the One who made her, after all.