The dream of having a daughter was never donned in my world. Not that I am or was opposed to having a daughter. More or less, I struggled with the possibility of her repeating my life cycle. A strong willed baby girl, young woman, grown woman who would struggle in this world with her extroversion, can-do attitude, intellect and beauty. To me this was a recipe for disaster. So I ate words. I ate words about “never wanting children” and I ate my words with “only wanting boys.” My mother’s curse.
You know because boys are such much more fun. You know because boys you only have to worry about one penis and not an entire world of penises; penises that are vying for your willful, intellectual, beautiful daughter. Yes….this thought entered my head. What I believed about having a daughter was not at all what I thought or dreamed.
I initially thought there was some magic, maybe a feeling of mystique with having a baby girl. When I first laid eyes on her I knew she was beautiful in that ugly, alien newborn baby sort of way. She was a perfect baby. Very seldom cried, her twin acted on most of this for her. She was always smiling. She was always happy. For some reason this began to anger me. Her blissful happiness oozing from her, she was like a sickened Disney movie which erupted all about my house. Pink and purple despite all my best efforts to rid our world of these hideous stereotypical colors that would define her as anti-feminist.
Stewing in feeling of love and loathing for this little girl. I found myself snapping at her more as she grew older and more aware in her world. Barking to rise above. Snippy at an ounce of err for being youthful, childlike, a little girl.
How dare she!
This is a woman’s world. We have no room for games. Skipping. Dolls. We are about business. Wearing the pants and shouting f*ck you to any Tom, Dick and Harry for their neanderthal attempts to belittle the feminist. We are the sinew of every facet; the great influencer.
Until I realized how Grimhilde I was behaving towards my daughter. My behavior was deplorable and not one of a mother who birthed such a magical creature as a daughter. But why? Why do mothers behave so poorly to daughters? Or worse, glorify them to the point that they are so delusional to the reality of the world they become prima donna princesses with “entitlement” tattooed upon their brows. My daughter was undeserving of my behavior and I began to take a moral inventory, reflect upon my actions and behavior, what was the genesis?
The disturbing reality came down to origin. You see I was raised by my mother as my parents divorced when I was barely 10. By no means am I blaming my mother, much of what happens is based on environment. My mother was raised by her mother who was raised by a step-mother who lacked compassion and intimacy. So my mother was the recipient of a very business like mother, receipt of hugs was seldom, if never happened at all and thus history repeated herself with me. Time slowly changed with my mother and she became a bit more physically affectionate but it was awkward, even as an adult her affection is still a bit foreign to me.
My mother also was not a girly girl by nature. She was a Tom boy, who wanted to join the Peace Corp and save the world by burning one bra at a time. Yes, that was my James Taylor, John Denver listening mother. Makeup, curling irons, fashion, heels, this was not in her repertoire. Stitching, sewing both fabric, humans and caring for the ill was my mother. I love her so.
But as a vain, struggling to fit in, intellectual young girl and woman, wearing makeup and being hip on the latest fashion and trends from Tiger Beat were vital. Of which these suffered poorly. As I mentioned, my parents divorced as I was heading into my tween years, before they were even considered tween years. I had already spent a fifth of my life caring for my younger siblings due to my parents complete lack of familial interaction. Mom checked out emotionally with the divorce, struggling to earn a living to support three small children and Dad was off courting a familiar love and climbing his excelling corporate ladder chain. Somehow parenthood landed square on my eight year old shoulders. Dolls, skipping, earrings, makeup, fashion were all cast aside.
Many years I struggled with a lack of a true girlhood. Only realizing how much I struggled while raising my own daughter. The overall absence of a strong feminine figure in my life caused such a dramatic void that I began to resent my own daughter for the opportunities she was afforded. I saw myself very business like with my interaction with her. The awkward affection. I resented she had a mother and father, but never making this connection, never understanding my feelings of anger, jealousy, bitterness and envy.
How could I have been so blind? How could I have been so oblivious to how I was treating my baby girl? Fueled by my own anger and frustration for my own circumstances, I was blinded to how I was bequeathing the same future to her. This was my golden opportunity to transform the maternal paradigm. I prayed for Sara. I prayed for her to have a better mother who could let go of the anger of not having someone to instruct and depict makeup application, hair styles and trends, fashion statements (or lack thereof), to skip with to the front of the grocery store, to speak life and beauty without seeming insincere or pained at the task. To allow her to enjoy being a little girl playing with dolls, embracing her feminism with throat punches to the boys, showing her to cross her legs and sit properly all while wearing a skirt and picking out the best shoes. Loving her the way she deserved to be loved.
Then I woke anew. Ready for the challenge to be the woman she needed; to help be her first role model of a woman. Guiding her in the struggles she would face as the foremost influence to mankind. When I say I grieved I truly grieved. A piece of me died one day. I said goodbye to my inner little girl who didn’t get to enjoy all that Sara has and will enjoy. I grieved the woman I once was; the anger, the bitterness, the sadness I carried because of the shame I felt for wanting to be that little girl and how I felt so wrong for wanting to be a little girl. I had to be strong, youth was seen as a weakness at a time when no one else was strong for me or my siblings.
Only realizing now, that as a parent, we think so much relies heavily upon the father figure, which to some degree carries a truth. However, I see now how impactful mothers being good to their daughters, and sons too, will shape who they are to become as adults. The love, support, and influence of a mother will either perpetuate the paradigm or result in a shift for our children and how they raise their children. I can only hope to be a better mother; to give my baby girl all she needs and wants in a woman role model and mother. May God continue to bless me with wisdom to bestow upon her and our legacy. Thankful I was able to realize how my parenting as a mother was only going to hurt us both. By grace I was changed to be better for her, be better for us.