They say that when you are about to die, your life flashes before your eyes. I say that the first time you put your child on an airplane alone, her life flashes before your eyes.
I recently dropped my daughter off at SFO to go to sleep away camp for the first time in her 12-year old life. While I pride myself on being cool as a cucumber when it comes to parenting, I was overcome with emotion when my daughter left my sight, walking down that jet way alone. I didn’t feel happy or sad, just FULL of emotion. As I returned to my car for the drive home, I was filled with memories of our lives together since she was born, and yes, I cried.
- The first time I heard her heart beat in utero and promised to always take care of that heart, so fragile and resilient, for the rest of my life
- The day she was born—nothing compares to that moment when a woman becomes a mother for the first time. She gave me that.
- Dancing with her for hours with her in the baby bjorn to Barry White, Andrea Bocelli and Bob Marley
- The first time she vomited all over me on a flight from Boston to San Francisco and the flight attendants treated us as if she had spewed e-coli
- The second time she vomited all over me and we ended up spending the night in the Mass General pediatric ER—what a nice doctor we had
- When she learned to walk in Italy—she had a perm-abrasion that trip!
- Her screaming “I want my daddy!” in the weeks after her younger brother was born every time things didn’t go her way
- The vacation that she insisted she wear a snorkel mask on the beach to keep the bugs and sand out of her face
- Her combination sneeze-cough that came to be known as the “Hakoocha”
- Walking with her hand-in-hand along Tiger Leaping Gorge in China
- When she lost her first tooth—I kid my kids that I will make them each necklaces out of all of the baby teeth I have saved over the years
- The time I was explaining that working hard was important and she said “I don’t want to work hard, I want to work loose”—I think she was about 3 at the time
- Her first day of school
- Blueberry picking and muffin making at our home in Maine
- The first time she fell riding a bike—boy, will she remember that from the scar she has on her left knee
- Endless hours watching American Idol together
- When we paid the $1100 to fly her hamster on our move from Hong Kong to San Francisco. She did a good job of convincing us that you can’t put a price on life and a hamster’s life is just as precious as a dog’s life.
- The time we talked about leadership and how qualities that she possesses such as adaptability to change and embracing new experiences are keys to leadership. My girl has lived in 4 global geographies and attended 6 different schools in her 12 years.
- The first time she sat in the front seat of the car.
- The first time we left her home alone.
- When she got her i-phone.
- Hearing her sing Adele’s “Someone Like You” solo in front of an audience at her singing recital in May
- The first time I had a conversation with her via text—very effective, I’m becoming very tech-savvy to keep up with her
- Going to see Snow White and the Huntsman on the eve before she left for camp—finally we are able to watch films that we can both enjoy!
- Thanking God that I am here for her as she begins the journey through adolescence and all of the milestones that come with it
Children teach us our capacity to love. My daughter Julia has made my heart grow at least 2 sizes. Named for her maternal grandmother, Julia has my father’s artistic talent and my mother’s eye for fashion. She is so like me, yet remains such a mystery to me at the same time. I always tell her she is my other heart, just like my mother always told me. Now I know what she means.
Who is your other heart?
-Jamie Hanna, Zobha Founder & CEO