Friday, February 11, 2011

Through the Looking Glass

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future. ~Author Unknown

When the doctor said those three little words "Its a girl" I'll admit I was filled with more trepidation than anticipation. As much as I knew there was an excellent chance we'd have a girl, I don't know if I ever could prepare myself fully for having a daughter. I never had a good relationship with my own mother, I don't even think I began to understand her at all until after she passed, and in some ways I think I'll always feel ill-equipped and inadequate in relating with Monkey. I'm not saying I wasn't loved, I definitely know my mother loved me and was proud of me, but we didn't relate to each other as well as she got on with my brother. I think her bright personality responded better to her charming Sagittarius baby than to her moody little Gemini. The other factor that influences me is how long I've lived in only the company of men. After my mother passed I was living with three generations of males; my father, grandfather, and brother. There were a constant stream of my brother's male friends in the house, or I was spending time with my dad and his older male friends. I've always had a small group of close girlfriends, but I've never fully related to them. Being a 15 year old adult sometimes puts a damper on finding things as amusing as other girls my age did.

So mix that all together and you can possibly see why I'm always over-analyzing my relationship with Monkey. Out of all 3 kids, she is the one whose antics get under my skin the fastest, or whose comments hit me the deepest. For some reason it always feels like she knows just what to say to cut me to the quick. She is so much like me in her tastes and interests, with the one exception that she owns more pink dress up costumes than I owned regular clothing as a child. I see so much of myself in her at her age, and I really don't want her to have the same mother/daughter experience I had. It saddens me to no end that I feel more frustration with her than anything else. Maybe its just the age or the stage, but she doesn't seem inclined to enjoy my presence or company. It wouldn't hurt so much if she was a Daddy's girl, but she doesn't care for him either. She'd much rather spend her time with Me-Ma, and that stings a little. Its not that I'm female, but apparently I'm not the right female for her to identify with. The taste of that disappointment is bitter in my mouth. Although I admit to being intimidated by having a daughter, that doesn't mean I didn't have dreams of what having a daughter would be like, or the kinds of things we could do together. And the fact that she doesn't want to do them with me hits on a whole well of insecurities I didn't know existed until she arrived.

Feeling like a weirdo through your teenage years is considered a normal course of life, but I distinctly remember feeling even more ostracized for being a weirdo with no guidance system. Teenage rebellion is a whole lot less exciting when there is no parental ideal to rebel against. Trying to find footing as a young adult without commiting a serious faux paus is a daunting task when you're trying to do it yourself without another's example. I still sometimes feel way out of league with other adults, and all these things come back to the surface when I think about my daughter not preferring my company or rejecting me as her role model. It makes me wonder if I really am deficient in some way that she can easily identify with her all seeing child-vision. And when people say having girls is harder, I believe that can be absolutely true for moms. As flawed and imperfect as we see ourselves, how terrifying must it be for all of that to be reflected back through the mirrors of our daughters? How much is exaggerated and distorted, and how much is a proper likeness? So for now, I not only strive for who I think I should be, but who I would like my daughter to be when she's older. Calm, helpful, compassionate, trustworthy, (okay - I'm still working on the calm part...). And even if she doesn't pick me as her first choice to hang out with, I'm still going to paint her toenails, knit hats for her dolls, have her be my baking assistant, and let her help me wash the dishes (by playing in the sink with the soap bubbles). Above all, I'm going to impose in her life constantly until we can improve how we communicate. Because I want to relate to this little girl. I want to understand her and help her understand me. So when the day comes that she needs help understanding herself, I can be there for her to rebel against. And I can only hope that our relationship is strong enough that I can encourage her to shatter the glass.
photo credit to C.M.C.

1 comment:

  1. I love your blogs, Lex. Rest assured- growing up, I was "daddy's girl" and also preferred my grandmother over my mother. It wasn't until I was older that I came to appreciate who my mother really was and now, as an adult, I have an excellent relationship with my Mom. She truly is my best friend. All you can do is be the awesome Mom that you already are. She'll come to appreciate it when the timing is right.

    PS-One of the reasons we were friends when we were younger was because of who you were. You were an individual while everyone else was following...nothing wrong with that!