Every time I look at that picture, it feels like I’m looking ten years into the future.
I see beautiful makeup that she has spent 30 minutes applying, a boredom with the banality of life, knowing that she’ll be going out with her girlfriends soon to dance, to drink, to flirt shamelessly with life.. to beleive in herself and her future and the excitement of the world. To learn about herself, her choices, what is important and what can be sacrificed.
To experience all the things I see when I look back ten years.
I’ve been terrified for that moment, and at the same time unbelievably excited for her. It’s a hundred times better, and scarier, than when I went through it myself. It’s knowing that it is coming that makes me talk to her about sex, drugs, maturity, boys.. all the things that turn her red and plug her ears and say “Mooooom”. But I would embarrass myself a million times, make sock puppets, and bring it up every day for the next ten years, if it saves her even an hour of the hardest part of those years that feel like you’ll be young forever.
Everyone says parenting is hard. They never explain really WHY.
My aunt said it was because you never really remember your life without your kids, once they are there.
My mom shows me her anguish, thinking that her forgetful or brash actions influence my brothers or my choices now.
I say it’s hard because every choice you make, every word you say, is done with them in mind. And not just them now, but future them. We bought a house by the best school in the valley so High School daughter will have the best possible schooling. I bought a reliable car 6 years ago so that 16 yo daughter will have mine…in 6 more years. We have a new Husky puppy so 14 yo daughter can stay home alone and know she has a companion that will scare off intruders. We put away money every month so that the girl in the picture will be in college when her age catches up to that picture. We sent her to theater camp, soccer camp, technology camp, choir camp, art camp, science camp, anything we can, so that 28 year old daughter will know that whatever career she has chosen is the right one for her.
In the end, I want her to somehow surpass how happy I am.
Which is silly, isn’t it? I was not raised the way I am raising my daughter, and I am happy. Rob was not raised well by any stretch of the imagination, and he is happy. Yet I see people out in the world that are not happy, and they were raised with more money, more chances, more friends, more possibilities.
The result? Oh, I don’t know. There are books leaking out of every crack in the library saying how to raise children, stories of failures and successes.Nothing in childhood guarantees your success nor failure. A large part of me knows that.
But you know, I’m still going to give her every chance I can.
I can’t help it. I’m her mom. And to me, she is the most beautiful wonderful exceptional fabulous EVERYTHING thing in my entire world, in every sense of the word.