Perhaps it is because my beloved firstborn is a son, but I had many reservations about having a daughter. When I first saw her, my reaction was “Holy shit, it’s a girl!” (She weighed 9 lbs). Then I thought, “I expect nothing short of payback.”
I thought of my own complex relationship with my mother, and how it was riddled with my own intense expectations — expectations I did not have of my father, by the way — as well as meanness on my part. Throughout Eli’s babyhood and toddlerhood she preferred to be with my husband and immediately I thought that our relationship was doomed from the start; that no matter what I did for her, I would never meet her expectations and she would eventually think that I failed her as a mother.
Now we are the best of friends. I actually like to take her places whether it be the supermarket or to get our nails done at the salon. Not only do I love her because she is my daughter, but I love her as a person: she is very creative, a mean sculpture artist who wants to grow up to be an artist and have two kids and a cat. She also has this hippy side to her. A typical outfit — she dresses herself — is a skirt over stripped leggings or pants, sequenced Punky Brewster sneakers and a shirt that doesn’t match any of it. Her curly mane is usually in every direction because she doesn’t like me to fix it. She is very gregarious and has a lot of friends, has an extensive vocabulary in both Spanish and English, a wonderful laugh and loves to curl up and read books or watch chick flicks with me. I am so glad that I have her!
This past weekend friends invited me to go sailing — a belated birthday present. I brought Eli and her friend, Charlotte — the only two kids with us. We had a blast (see above). As you can see, we had a glorious sunny day, I had a mimosa in one hand and my girl in the other. It doesn’t get better than that.
Go ahead and share delightful memories you have with your children. What has most surprised you about your relationship with them?