Thursday, June 21, 2012

For Good

Today was not a monumental day of achievement.

It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. However, to say that today fell on the vernacular scale somewhere between bad and great.... that feels wrong too.

Today was fun, but also simultaneously boring. It was painstakingly slow, but it was as though the hands flew around the face of the clock with only a blink of my eye. It was wild, but tame. It was routine, but different.

Today was a day of appreciation, and laughing... a lot.

Before my very eyes...my daughter grew up a little today. This is going to be hard to explain, but I've always heard if you can't explain it simply....you don't really understand it all that well.

Today, while my son was napping, I had a conversation with my five-year-old daughter about love. She asked me what love was; Because I want my daughter to think I know everything there is to know about everything,(and I'm not quite ready to take myself off of the pedestal she's placed me on)I looked it up.

There I sat: twenty-six years old, mother of two, wife, domestic goddess, self procclaimed art enthusiast, a woman with an expansive vocabulary and good grip on the inner-workings of the English language, and I had to fucking Google the definition of the word, "love".


The most common definition states that Love is, "a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend."After reading this to Abby, I realized something quite exciting about love. The way most people identify love is by the word form when it's used as a verb, but it is also a noun. I mean...it's an object noun, but a noun's a noun.
I realized...love is not only something you can do...it's something that can be something. It's something that requires a prefacing action, or a subsequent reaction. Love is something that the subject noun can be. (I found this revelation exciting, but I may be the only person in the world who gets excited about reciting the Shurley-English Method jingles from 4th grade)

Anyway, I explained love to my daughter. Conversation as follows:

Me: Okay, well...Love is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person or a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend. So...when I say, "I love you." That means that I care about you. I want to take care of you. It means you and Sammy are more important than anything else in the world to me.

Abby: Oh, so only mommies and their babies give love out, right? But... Mommy, even in movies...the girl's eyes get big or they walk slow and that's love too, right?

Me: Well, there are lots of different types of love. I love a lot of people, in a lot of different ways. I love my family differently than I love other people. And, yes...when girl's and boy's eyes get big...that normally means they love one another... Or that is what the movies want to show us, but that is more like when you fall in love.

Abby: You fall down in love? Even that hurts, right? (laughs) Even when you fall in love it hurts, right? (more giggles)

Me: Well, you don't actually fall down*sigh*...it's a phrase. But yes, falling in love can hurt. Not mommy and daddy love, though.That kind of love you don't fall into. It's there...from the minute you're born we have loved you. Only slow motion love hurts sometimes.

Abby: Even that's okay though, right? Like on the movies? Even it's good to have love, right?

Me: Yes. Even love, whatever kind, is good. I love you.

Abby: I love you more...Can I have a pink popsicle?

*****

This particular conversation I had with my daughter isn't so different from the millions of conversations we've had before, as far as the subject matter was concerned.


Abby has this intense curiosity about how the world works; why people say and do the things they do, but today ,when I spoke with Abby, there was something about her mannerisms and posture that startled me. 

The way she looked extra grown up in her little khaki capri pants, sparkly nail polish and bangle bracelets. It might have been the way she was extra focused on what questions she asked, to the point that her nose crinkled up when she talked.  There she was, laying on her stomach, chin propped up in her hand, feet kicked up and crossed at the ankles and her  big, beautiful brown eyes full of questions. Then, when I satisfied her curiosity...the confusion about her query was replaced by smiling appreciation.

Before my eyes, the years sped through in a blurry montage of moments, and we might as well have been sitting on her bed ten years from now. As clear as I can see the letters on my keyboard, I could see her stuffed animals replaced by an eclectic mish-mash of teenage messiness: Magazines, music, homework... scrap pieces of paper with initials, addition symbols and hearts strewn  about. 
It was at that moment I realized...I don't have long. I don't have long to mentally prepare her for the amazing (and equally disappointing) things that will come her way in the near future.

It's also terrifying to know that I am my daughter's Google. I am her source for viable information. If something looks out of place, or if something doesn't sound 100% accurate, she comes to me. I am her Wikipedia, and that's great...I would much rather her come to me than anyone else, but...frankly, it scares the living shit out of me.


I think it scares me mostly because our life experiences are so varied from one another. I can already tell you that Abby is living a very different childhood at 5 than I had at that point in my life. Not to say I wasn't loved, but the general day to day living was different. How will I know that I'm not guiding her based on my jaded view of the world? How will I know that by steering her away from something because it hurt me...that I'm not, in turn, hurting her by not leaving her life open to experiences that may be different for her than they were for me?

Sometimes...being a mother sucks. Don't get me wrong, it will be the most important thing I ever do with my life, but the worry...the stress...the not knowing if you're doing the right thing and the inability to keep a solid grip on how quickly time passes by...these are all things that make Motherhood the best and worst thing in the world. It was after I thought about all of these things that I realized something.

I realized something I have known all of this time, but have been too blinded by my own fear of doing irrepairable psychological damage to my children, and simply didn't see it.

Regardless of what answers I give to my children when they ask questions, they are still people. They are children, but they have their own personalities. They look to us for advice, but still form their own ideas and have their own imaginations. It is part of the checks and balances of Motherhood...we, mothers, have this fear of giving the wrong advice, but our children have the choice of whether or not to listen to it. (Thank God...it makes life easier knowing they at least have a choice)

To close...today wasn't anything for the books. I didn't do anything, or go anywhere of consequence. Hell, I spent a better part of the day in my pajamas with no bra on.

Today wasn't great.
Today wasn't bad.
Today wasn't somewhere in between.
Today, simply put, contained one moment that I will remember with distinct clarity until the day I die.

As I thought about all of this...a song kept popping into my head. I actually sang this song to Abby two nights ago when I tucked her into bed...it wasn't until today that everything sort of fit into place.
So, here's to love... and the relationships between a mother and daughter that, if we're lucky, evolve into friendships.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzrGFQysfYU

1 comment:

  1. I wish my mother had put that much thought into my growing up. I don't even remember any significant conversations with her. You may worry and stress, but she sounds smart enough to weigh your answer against her own thoughts. :) I'm seriously jealous and am asking you to adopt me even though your three years younger. Hahaha.

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