My mother got her wish.
You know that wish? The one they make out loud again and again during your childhood. The wish they make when you sassed them, challenged them or just did something incessantly. It was a wish that followed me well into my college years, never wavering or altering. A wish so big that often other family members would share the same feeling or desire.
Something I like to call: The Golden Wish.
“I hope someday you have a child just like you.”
My daughter would be the child I am lovingly beginning to know as my ‘wish granter.’ Her brother possesses a number of characteristics similar to his mommy, but much of his DNA can be attributed to his father. While my daughter is the more ‘artsy’ of our two children, her ‘daddy like’ personality traits pretty much end there.
My daughter is all me.
Truthfully I cringe as I write this. Make no mistake; I adore and love my daughter beyond words, but if there were ever a great intervention type therapy to help one re-examine who they are … this would be it. I’ve been told by strangers and friends that we resemble one another, but usually after five minutes of meeting her I hear, “She’s a talker, just like her mother.”
Yes, I’m a talker, always have been. So much so that when I was an infant an Uncle nicknamed me ‘Jaws’ (short for Jabber Jaws) because I was constantly making noise.
Family members especially seem to take the most joy in the similarities the two of us possess. My ‘brousin’ (cousin who is more like a brother), seems to take the most joy from listening to my daughter carry on and on, which often irritates her older brother. This would be a very similar scene from our own childhood and personally I think he loves the fact that I now must handle both sides of the coin (which can be exhausting at times). My son is a ‘thinker,’ he can sit in his own quiet staring out the window of the car taking it all in and imagining himself a million miles away. So, when his sister looks to him and says, “Jackson, I have to ask you something,” more than half a dozen times on any given outing, it tends to push him to the edge.
Recently, as the three of us were heading out to run errands (kids situated and buckled in the back seat), I heard my son say, “Sissy, you don’t have to talk ALL the time. There’s a lot to see when we’re driving. We don’t have to ALWAYS be talking.”
My daughter of course (being like her mother) had a quick rebuttal as to why what she was saying was so important and should be heard. Feeling my son’s pain, I intervened. I explained to both children the similarities they each possess to their parents and how one must respect the other. Translation: I found the Justin Bieber station on Pandora and encouraged my daughter to sing along, which left her brother the silence he desired. My true ‘aha’ moment with the unmistakable similarity between the two of us came to me early last week. I was readying myself for work and the two of them for the day. As I stood in my bathroom I could hear my daughter ‘making herself’ cry. I stepped into her bedroom to inquire what was wrong, apparently her ‘stomach hurt.’
Fortunately for me (and unfortunately for her) I knew this trick, mainly because I was her once. Prior to the discovery of her illness she had been following me from room to room as I made lunches, cleaned up from breakfast, did some laundry … well you get the picture.
So, as we discussed her now ‘terrible’ tummy ache I did what every parent would do. I informed her how unfortunate that would be since we had plans to attend the Fair that evening. A tummy ache would result in us having to stay home.
As if a miracle by God, tears were dried, she shared maybe she just needed to ‘go potty’ and voila, all better. Later that morning, as I came to grips with raising a child ‘just like me’ I had an equally huge epiphany. This would explain those moments when I hear my mother’s voice coming out of my mouth. I mean, it makes perfect sense. Somehow she managed to handle me just fine. Since I’ve lived through this once on the receiving end, it would only make sense that perhaps I might borrow a few of those words as I am now the giver.
At the end of the day, it’s all good stuff. For as many qualities my daughter possesses like her mother, she owns many of her own. She is much more confident than I ever was. She is much more giving at this age, than I recall being, and her comedic timing is impeccable. She is without a doubt her own person.
But as her mother, I have a newfound respect for my mother as well as my family for ‘handling’ me. I was without question a handful, but the love of my family (even through discipline) never stifled who I became. Therein lies the lesson.
It’s a balancing act at the end of the day. Teaching respect, encouraging creativity, allowing voices and opinions to be heard and preparing them for both disappointment as well as success.
We don’t always get it right, but somewhere through the journey we all continue to learn. As they say, “Knowledge is power” and this mommy is grateful to the two children who bring me the never ending learning.
Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.