Monday, March 27, 2006

Whose Child Is This?

Once upon a time, when I was really stupid (I mean even more so than now. Shut up.) I thought having a daughter would be easy.
I thought being a girl would make it easier to raise one of my own. In my naive little mind, I imagined a girl with pigtails and a sunny smile who didn't know the meaning of 'argue' and we would have much in common.
Like I said, when I was really stupid.
She looks like me. A prettier version, I think. Same big green eyes, crooked grin, thick hair, and smooth, fair skin. She has more of an athletic build than I ever did. Her hair is lighter. Her lips slightly less full. We both have a weakness for mint chocolate chip ice cream and small furry creatures.
But that's where our similarities end.
I was always a bookworm as a kid. She's an excellent reader, but she feels her time is better spent hanging upside down from the monkey bars. She loves sports. Baseball is her 'thing'. We go to Mariner's games mostly because it's something she loves. Her most prized possession is the bat and ball signed by Kenji Johjima. She loves to watch the game on TV with her dad. I try, but I get fidgety and this seems to annoy her (I can only assume that's what it means when she jabs me with her elbow and admonishes me to sit still). She's a cheerleader. I go to her practices and games and love to watch her but it's always with this strange fascination. I wonder where she came from.
I was an introvert as a kid. The quiet one with her nose in a book.
Girl X is a social butterfly. She's friends with everyone in her grade and several others. She knows their moms and siblings.
It amazes me that she remembers their names but she always forgets to tie her shoes or turn in her homework.
She loves skirts and dresses, shoes, hair ties, bracelets and necklaces. All the girly things that sometimes freak me out.
I love shoes, but I can't wear anything with a heel. Unless of course I feel like falling flat on my face. Which I can actually do in flats too, but heels make it happen faster. I'm ok with picking out clothes for her, but when it comes to mine I'm at a loss. It's probably why Mr X has banned me from buying anymore sweatshirts.
Hair? I hope she has a nice friend who takes pity on her and teaches her how to do her hair because I'm still trying to figure out mine. Everytime I think I've got it, it falls. Most of the time I'm happy if it's brushed. And while we're on the subject of hair, I hope she finds someone with a nice mom who can teach her how to pluck eyebrows because I am at a loss. Wax is my friend. Not because I like it (I'm not a masochist!) but because I don't want to be the one-browed she wonder.
What I'm realizing now, all these years later, is that Girl X got the short end of the mother stick. I'm winging it as much as I can but I'm afraid I'm falling short and someday she's going to look back and ask me what the hell I was thinking.
Kind of like I'm doing now with my mom. I feel like there are all these secrets to being a woman that I should know, but I so don't. I wonder how my sister managed to get them out of her.
I can picture Girl X and I when she's a teenager getting ready for her first date. We'll be sitting on her bed and she has her clothes laid out between us.
"See, simple jeans, vintage tee, scarf for a belt, boots. Simple, pretty, young. Get it now mom?"
And I will nod my head and pretend I understand.