Most days I love my daughter bigger than the moon and I like her just as much. She is smart and spunky and kind and generous. She is cute and stylish and unique. Lots of good qualities and some I will take credit for. Some I will even give her father credit for. She definitely gets her taste in music from him. Billy Talent and other bands I’ve never heard of, never mind want to listen to. is in their MP3’s. Today is a day where part of me wants those wonderful gypsies from our youth to show up at the door and offer her a place in their caravan. You know the ones. It could have been the circus or the boogeyman but all of us grew up with someone coming to take us away if we didn’t do X. Okay, maybe that was just me but this post is not about that. This is about how she sees me and I how I didn’t see it coming at all.
It all began innocently enough. We were driving home from shopping. Something I do purely out of necessity and only when forced. I am not an aimless shopper or a particularly frivolous shopper. It needs to have a purpose, be a great deal and preferably be on clearance. Where I see this as being thrifty and responsible, my daughter sees this as being picky. I frustrate her when we shop. She sees something that she thinks would be perfect and in her mind it’s a done deal. I recognize that part of this comes from her under-developed sense of money but I think the other part is just simplification of the process. I like it. It’s here. It fits. Let’s take it. I am more of a mull it over, comparison shop, get the best price kind of girl. This is apparently a detrimental way to be according to some study I read but the high I get on scoring exactly what I want for the best price borders on crack for satisfaction I’m sure.
But I digress.
On the way home we drove behind a vehicle that had two bikes attached to the back. The bikes were facing each other with the tips of the seats almost touching. I had a Lady and the Tramp moment and said to my daughter, “Oh look, the bikes are kissing – haha”. All was quiet in the back seat for a moment and then the voice of my maturing 12-year-old said, “Mom, you have a different way of looking at things”. Hmmmmm. This was an innocent remark and not one made with any malice. Just an observation by my child who has spent most of her formative years in the vicinity of my dance circle. However, it gave me a jolt. Here was my daughter at 12 noticing what I have been told my whole life. That I see things differently. It’s not that I mind this. In fact I quite enjoy the way I look at things and notice things that most people don’t. Even a co-worker commented that I notice little things that most people miss. Heck even my husband has said that. It just seemed a little more poignant that my little girl noticed it too.
The story continues with a trip to Michael’s which the children and I frequently visit. With a 40% off coupon, or several, safely stashed in my purse of course. I mean what kind of crazy person doesn’t get 40% off whenever you can ??? That is just the definition of nuts if you ask me. But you didn’t so I’ll continue with the story. Well maybe I’ll pause for a moment and pontificate on the loveliness that is Michael’s. It is akin to Chapters for me, and now my children, though I’m sure for different reasons. I love the possibilities. I love the ideas and the creative juices that flow when I walk in there. Shiny beads, picture frames, funky pens, cake decorating equipment: all waiting for me to think of a reason to buy them. Chapters does the same thing for me with the undiscovered stories and information that await behind each cover. What will I learn ? Will I laugh or cry or be frustrated by bad grammar and poor story development ? I recognize that smaller shops would provide the same happiness and I do try to find those. But somehow the happiness is somewhat diminished when I pay full price. Weird I know but maybe this will help you understand what my daughter is discovering about me.
Now the goal of this particular trip is to find some stickers to decorate my new academic planner with. When I see a dull, black, boring cover that I’m going to have to look at for the next year, I need to bedazzle it. Throw some personality on there. I know I’m 41 and that’s a bit odd but I guess I have a bit of individuality and craftiness that needs to be expressed. So I enlisted the help of my equally creative and individualistic daughter to help me find stickers. PLUS the stickers were on sale so I wouldn’t have to waste my coupon :). We perused all kinds of different stickers and I was thinking about what I wanted this agenda to say. Do I want it to make me laugh and take some stress off when I am recording another test or assignment ? Or do I want to convey a mature creativity ? I was a bit caught I tell you. One of my journals has sock monkey stickers and the other has art deco owls. On the front that is. On the back is either more sock monkeys or a combo of arrows and bees signifying my journey to find direction with courage. It’s not easy being a Gemini and have so many facets of oneself to be expressed. That sounds better than some type of personality disorder that remains as yet undiagnosed.
So my link to motherhood prowls the many rows of colorful stickers and embellishments and other doodlie dads that those of the scrapbooking ilk embrace. I will confess that the allure of scrapbooking eludes me. I have a lovely digital picture frame that the same co-worker as before gave me one Christmas and it works lovely. I get to see my pictures and there is not more fiddly “stuff” in my house than I can handle. It’s a win-win. As my daughter continues to hunt, I too am prowling the rows trying to decide what kind of message I’d like to convey and how much I’m willing to pay for stickers. My eyes light upon several that make me smile, including Kermit the Frog, and they harken me back to the days of my youth. Watching the Muppets, getting the nickname Gonzo in highschool and other fleeting memories. I wrestle with maturity and fun. I don’t want to look staid and boring but I don’t want to appear frivolous and childish either. The very fact that I am looking for stickers to decorate the planner points exactly at this but let’s ignore that for now shall we ?
Then I find them. The perfect blend of maturity and frivolity. Monsters. And puffy monster eyes. OOOOOHHHHHH says the 10-year-old in me. $6.99 per sheet ?! says the mature person much louder. And today of all days I need my coupon for something else and of course these are not the stickers on sale. I call over the fruit of my womb who says, “Oh Mom those are so cute !” I pause for a moment before agreeing and she senses my hesitation. “What?” she says, “You like them right ?” I nod. “Then what is the problem?” she asks with mounting exasperation in her voice. You have to remember that shopping with me is an exercise in frustration. “Well, I was thinking that I should get some more mature stickers, more decorative than silly, you know?” Laughing she walks away and says over her shoulder, “No offence Mom but I think you are more fun than mature.” Again this observation registers with a jolt. Hmmmm. I stand there thinking, OK, what do I say to that ? Do I correct her ? Do I argue ? Or do I just accept the fact that maybe my daughter is more like me than I thought. Maybe she too observes the little things that other people miss.
Most people seem to consider me quite serious and the complete opposite of spontaneous. I have been called organized and a great planner. If only they knew that I write things down and plan like crazy because I am in fact the opposite: scattery and like a fart in a windstorm as my father used to say. How you see yourself and how others see you is usually quite divergent. For me it is anyway. I often under value myself, my skills and any accomplishments. I often take people’s observations of me and file them away for later consideration. This is code for I don’t really pay attention. But it’s different when it’s your child doing the observing. It’s different hearing from your kid that you are unique and fun. It means more. It means everything. To this I will pay attention. She’s made other comments about me, not as her mom, but just as a person. I can’t recall them all but there have been enough that I think she sees the real me. The person I would not mind being. Some of whom I see in her and am astounded by. That this straight talking, confident, observant young lady is mine, that I had a part in bringing her in to being, brings me to my knees with pride and love. I hope she sees that too.
I won’t call the gypsies today though I will keep the number handy for she is not the only one who gets frustrated in this relationship. Today is a day where I will try to remember that she has some maturing to do. Today is a day where I will remember that she is growing up and finding herself and observing more than just her crazy mother in this world. Today is a day where I will wait to hear what else my daughter has to say. I’m sure it will be wise and true. There will be a day where our shopping trips are few and far between. There will be the day where her maturing is done, though if I am any indication this might be a long process. There will be a day where the little girl who holds my heart will be the woman she was meant to be. And I’m sure I won’t even see it coming.