Daughter Envy

5 years ago

I think I am jealous of my daughter. 

The thought occurs to me as I wait on a bench while she has a job interview across the street. My feet hurt, the ten pound "Forever 21" bag  full of floral print dresses and cut off shorts digs into my shoulder. She has shopped before the interview and I am holding the bag.

A half hour later my phone rings. I got the job!  I am so proud and happy for her I can barely contain it. I gather up her things and start to walk across the street. I see her bound out of the building. She doesn't see me. Her long hair swinging behind her, I am struck by how beautiful she is.

I am proud and happy.  I am envious.

I want my life spread out ahead of me. 

I want a do-over.

We celebrate with dinner at a restaurant that serves octopus and baby pig and goat. I hesitate and look around for a steakhouse or something with broiled salmon on the menu.She implores me to be adventurous. There will be something on the menu you will like, she assures me. I envy her courage.

We order our food and I listen as she tells me about jobs and internships and college life.

I envy her unlined face. 

I envy the way she orders her food in Spanish as it is written on the menu. I envy the way she moves effortlessly through the world. We laugh and overtip the waiter and make one more stop.

It is my turn to try on some things at a store that is not "Forever 21." I try on a trench coat but decide against it when I see my reflection in the mirror.  My own mother wore her disappointment with life like a beige trench coat.  I slip it back on the hanger.

I am not disappointed. 

I remind myself there is no such thing as forever 21. 




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