the idea of becoming.
"I noticed that she looked completely at ease in her blue gown and slippers, and ever so slightly in love with herself....I couldn't help but reflect that my girl had what appeared to be complete immunity from the desires of the herd.
I could see Emily's future spinning out like an old-timey film strip: she would read textbooks for pleasure. She would laugh loudly at her own jokes. She would in all likelihood attend a Tolkien convention. She would go to a costume party dressed as a Wookie. She would leave at least one ladies' room during a blind date with a trail of toilet paper stuck to her shoe. When true love hit, she would punctuate the moment by vomiting. There would be an episode of driving through town with a bag of groceries resting on the hood of her car while passerby waved and hollered. My daughter would lead a singular life. I said a little prayer to the God of Normalcy that it would also be joyful".
--Amy Dickinson, The Mighty Queens of Freeville
I just finished reading this book. An entire book in the space of two weeks. If you are following me on Notes Across The Sea you can see what slowing down can do for you. Amy Dickinson, in this book recounts divorcing and moving back to her hometown to live and grow among the women of her family and raise her daughter. It meant a lot to me this book. A mother raising her daughter in the company of family in a small town. At this point in the book she is reflecting on her growing girl and preparing for her to leave the nest.
It seems everywhere I turn these days, friends, fellow bloggers, this book are reminding me that we do our job as mother so we can set them off to fly on their own. Set them free to try out their wings and hope we've made them strong.
When I read this passage, I felt like I was reading about my Emily. It seemed to suit her perfectly. So much that I went back and read it again and again....and again.
I love my 10 year old girl, my girl on the brink. The way she poses herself in the mirror in the dressing room and says "I am adorable" but in a way that makes you laugh instead of being shocked. I love how she leaves the house in a red and black striped tank top, aqua shorts and a black tutu and when I ask her, "Are you sure"? she just shrugs over her shoulder and takes off running. I love that the thought of something gross makes her throw her hands over her ears and leave the room. I love that when she gets excited about something she wrinkles her nose and pushes her glasses up. I love how she knows way too much about nutrition and health, aliens and every character in Star Wars. I love watching her laugh and play carelessly without thought of herself with her small band of friends. I love how she sings (albeit it badly) full blast on the toilet. I love that she has read every book entitled "How To Survive A......". I love that when she chose an instrument this year, she picked a trombone that was as tall as she was. I love all her petty little OCD tics, and how she's reduced her rocketing anxiety to a small addiction to Pepto Bismol. I love that her first words after her first day of summer camp were "those kids are so obnoxious".
But most of all, most, most of all I love that she said to me the other night, in all sincerity, "I just don't want to grow up. I don't want to stop doing all the things I did when I was little".
I told her a story of taking my favorite stuffed animals to my first apartment at age 23, how at 39 I listen to children's music and act silly and love a good board game.
But what I wanted to say; what I whispered in my head was, "Please, please don't grow up".
I know like the girl in the passage above, she will live a singular life and she will do it proudly and on her terms. I know great things are waiting for her to come and fulfill them. I just hope when the time comes I can smile and I can nod and I can be proud. I hope I continue to see all the millions of little things that have made her that girl without being mournful.
I hope that every good and bad, stupid, regretful and ridiculously accommodating thing I have done for her makes her powerful. When it is just you, when there is no one else to turn to and take accountability with, there is an overwhelming feeling of responsibility, of "it is up to me". But yet every decision I have ever made in my life has been for her and her sister. I want her to look back as she steps into the world and know it's not "regardless of" these things that I love her so but "because of". I hope that she knows with all her successes and all her failures I will be here, always her cheerleader, always her mother.