It was her hair that I loved.
I distinctly remember that. It was blonde. Not white blonde. But that really cool California blonde with a million yellow, brown, almond, caramel colors strewn through it.
And she had blue eyes. I did too, but hers were better...Mediterranean like and infinitely sparklier.
And she was smart, extraordinarily so. She took all of the same advanced placement courses that I did, but different than me, she breezed through them as if it was nothing but a thing.
Oh, and she played the violin. And when I went to her house, her father, a professor played classical music and asked if we wanted tea or to see their recent photos from Europe.
And I wanted to be her.
We were 16 and I was certain that she and her family epitomized everything that was right and beautiful in the world.
If I could just somehow transform my dark brown hair into blonde locks and lose 3 or 4 inches off of my 5 foot 8 inch frame and play a musical instrument and get a passport and learn to like tea and....
And I remember it like it was yesterday, the ways that we as adolescents turn ordinary people into demigods not realizing that when we do, we diminish the beauty and importance of who we are in the process.
This memory came back to me as I was talking with my beautiful five-year old daughter Kate. She was sharing how she wished that she had curly hair like a little girl in her kindergarten class and that she played soccer.
I told her that curly hair is fun until you have to wash it, comb it, and manage it. And that all of my friends with curly hair envied my straight hair because they hated maintaining their lioness locks.
Then I told her that soccer is super cool as well and she could certainly try it this spring, but that we shouldn't forget what an amazing ballerina that she has become.
And finally, I conveyed that its completely normal to "fall in love" with other people and to want to "be" who they are. It's part of being human. But the best skin to live in is your own. It's true that if you don't live your own life, no one will get the best of you and everyone will miss out on the blessing that is you.
And yet, it's so hard when all you want to be is a blue-eyed, blonde-haired, Chopin listening, European traveler. Alas, someone has to hold down the fort in Omaha, Nebraska.