My daughter, Janine will turn forty on May 19 and hopefully this post captures how special she is to me. . . . just saying I love you, Mom
Aging & Attitude
My daughter phoned a few weeks ago and after a good hour-long conversation told me, holding back tears, I was on her gratitude list. It was not Mother’s Day but it was the best Mother’s Day present ever. I hung up the phone, and put a long list of ‘if only I had’ in the trash, to reminisce about my little girl.
She was not a fussy infant and slept through the night at six weeks, never cried or climbed out of her crib, and woke with a cheery “Morning.” By the third call, I would have her in my arms. Asked if she would give baby Donna her bottle, Janine said yes and drank from a cup. She potty trained easily wanting to wear big girl pants like Christie.
Most days, after playing in the park we lingered on the stoop outside to wait for Daddy. At two and a half years old, Janine would climb the brick steps, teeter across a cement ledge and jump to the ground holding my hands. She was long and lean, like a green bean, and called Beaner Her incessant jumping gave birth to the rhyme, J is for Janine, Mommy’s jumping jellybean. I struggled to match my daughter’s energy and enthusiasm.
The summer of 1980 we traveled to Chicago, by sleeper train, to visit Aunt Judy and Uncle George. Independent Janine maneuvered the way from our cabin to the dining car, bouncing side to side. You could not hold her hand. The dining tables wore white linen table cloths, and the wine served in a stemmed glass.
I have a vivid picture of Janine sitting in a Winnetka ice cream parlor, her chin even with the table, ready to place her order, a chocolate cone. Uncle George, who was treating, suggested a dish of ice cream might be safer. Determined, she stately sweetly, “I want a cone,” to Uncle George’s continued feeble attempts to persuade her other wise. There was no terrible two-temper tantrum only the pointing of her pinky and index finger like devil horns saying, repeatedly, “I want a cone.” Uncle George did not comment after her pretty dress was covered in chocolate.
The first day of kindergarten she wore a sucker of a rhinestone pin given to her by Great Granny B for dress up, and left the house saying; “Mom, I’m going to be the prettiest girl in the class.” My response, “Yes, you will.”
Early on, she wanted to know if you went to college to be a cocktail waitress, to which her father and I had no reply, amazed at her insight that attending college and waitressing somehow went together.
These days, Janine is miles away, and missed. People notice her kindness, generosity, quiet determination, and independence. She pounds the streets of New York City and a chorus joins me in cheering, J is for Janine, Mommy’s jumping jellybean.
Thank you daughter, for loving me.
…. Just saying