Monday, July 20, 2015
I hope you have one just like you.
I remember hearing that saying, those words, as a teenager. My mom and I were arguing about something, and neither one of us would budge. (Likely it wasn't much of an argument. My mother had stated a law. I didn't like it, whining ensued.) I thought I was right and she was wrong. She was loving me in a way I didn't understand at the time, likely protecting me from my own bad judgement. But I saw none of that. My strong will versus her compassion, authority and experience. I'm sure raising me (and in my defense, any of my siblings) wasn't easy. And I'm sure those words, I hope you have one just like you, were meant to serve as a warning, or perhaps to remind herself that the day would come when her feisty, strong-willed daughter would deal with something oh-so-very-similar.
And now here I am. Two dear and precious daughters later, I have thought (although yet to say out loud) to both of them. I hope you have one just like you.
In the frustrating, you-are-on-my-last-nerve times, I picture my daughters grown with their own brand of strong-willed babies, struggling just as I am. I see a tow-head asking question after question about EVERY. SINGLE. THING. And accepting no easy answers. I see dark eyebrows furrowed and little feet kicking the floor in the middle of another temper-tantrum. I see spilled milk due to dancing at the table (after being told not to) and the arched back of a toddler, refusing to be strapped in her car seat. I hear whining from the backseat from the girl who insists a milkshake is certainly her divine right, and I hear the screams and NONONONO from the tantruming toddler who has just been told she can't play with the contents of the knife drawer. Oh yes, I think. I hope you have one just like you.
Then after we all break to our separate corners and calm down, we can stand each other again. Apologies can be made. Naps can be taken. Snacks can be eaten. Talks can happen in regular voices. Hugs can be given. I remember that not only do I love my daughters, I actually really like them too.
The big girl and I can talk about her myriad of important questions and I can figure out what it is she's really asking. (Yes, if our house caught fire, Mommy and Daddy would make sure you and Nora were safe before we rescued the TV. No, our feelings don't actually look like cute little Pixar characters. Yes, Daniel in the lions den and Moses on the mountain were both neat guys, but no, they weren't BFFs.) I can marvel at her creativity and intellect and see glimpses of the awesome young lady she's growing up to be. I can admire her curiosity and desire to always want to know more and learn more. I can see the care and compassion she has for animals, strangers, family members, and inanimate objects. Oh yes, I think. I hope you have one just like you.
After a nap and a snack, the toddler and I can regroup and be friends again. I am no longer the big, bad Mommy and she'll offer me her tightest embrace and wettest kiss. She'll bring me a peace offering of every single toy from the giant toy box and we'll play together on the floor. She'll laugh and I'll put the sparkly pink tiara on her head and she'll spin in circles. I can sit, amazed at the growth and development that has gone on right in front of my eyes for the last eighteen months. I can be awe-struck by how truly beautiful this child is. Then, with her thumb in her mouth, she'll curl up in my lap and put her head on my chest. Her little body will contort around my soft and squishy bits; my imperfections her comfort, and we will both be in our Happy Place. Oh yes, I think. I hope you have one just like you.
Of course we could do with less whining and fit-throwing. But if that is the price for heart-to-heart talks and sweet snuggles, then I'll continue to pay. And I'm sure I'll continue to think (and probably one day say) that same time-tested phrase. Because truly dear ones, I hope you have one just like you.