Wednesday, May 5, 2010

#100 Practicing Safe Sun

Although I know my daughter as well as most mothers know theirs, I feel like I'm constantly trying to catch up.

The more time I spend with my daughter, the more I realize how different we are. Erica is confident, strong willed, very affectionate and driven. At fourteen, those were traits I did not have, and some that I still don't. When I say driven, I mean that Erica is not ok with just being good enough [that's my comfort zone], she wants to be the best, and will work hard to achieve that. Erica is a junior black belt. She went to karate 2-5 times a week from the ages of six to twelve and could have just had fun, but once her sensei told her about being a black belt, she diligently worked towards that belt. Athletically, she competed with much older kids and some adults. I remember like yesterday dropping her off for her black belt test. When I walked into the studio two hours later, she was absolutely exhausted. Her hair was totally disheveled, she wore a bruise or two or ten, and had a gigantic grin on her face. First time.... she passed.

Erica comes into my room to kiss me goodnight because more times than not, I'm in bed before she is. She's a night owl, and does some of her best work after 10:00 pm. In high school and college, I would get up at 5:00 am to study rather than stay up late or [god forbid] pull an all-nighter. On occasion, I have gotten up around midnight or later to visit the bathroom, and can see that her light is still on.

Erica's body is older than she is. A few months ago I discussed with her that men/young men/boys may say, do or be inappropriate towards her because of her [grown-up] body. Inappropriate because even though her body says "woman", her emotional age is 14, albeit a mature 14, but still 14. I told her that when the Y chromosome looks at her, they aren't seeing a 14 year old, they are seeing her body . She knows that she has the same body as I did at her age. I explained that I spent my tweens, teens and early into my 20s wondering what it was that I did to attract "bad" attention. I didn't dress sexy nor was I a flirt. What I had was big boobs and a sweet personality.... one that didn't talk back or make people feel bad for their actions. When I finished this mom-daughter chat, Erica hugged me, then patted my shoulder and said, "Don't worry about me mom. I think I have a lot more confidence in myself than you did". I silently pondered whether that "did" tense should be a "do" tense.

My wonderful daughter and I don't argue. It's really simple, she's better at it than I am. As a kid, I was taught not to argue or question my parents or authority. I just never had any practice. Erica can argue a point in 12 different ways, and I learned early on, that she can go on longer than I can. I just don't have the stamina or head for this type of "debate". I usually end the "argument" with one of the following yelled statements: "because I said so" or "discuss this with your father". Marc understands this personality characteristic... it's his DNA handed down and multiplied tenfold with female wiliness mixed in. Sometimes she crosses the line with me. She knows that respect for others, and especially her parents, is required of her at all times. Happily, she knows when she's crossed the line, and apologizes with hugs and kisses. However, this strong trait, which I may not like as a mom, is a characteristic that I don't want to put the kibosh on. Since as a kid, I never talked back, debated, nor fought for what I wanted, I want her to know how to stand up for herself without worrying about "getting into trouble". She has learned that you win some and lose some.

And this is the essence of Erica... We are driving downtown and she asks if we can go bathing suit shopping. I say sure, and then proceed to tell her that she really needs to start taking care of her pale, Eastern European complexion. That unlike her brother and me, she burns and doesn't tan. She laughingly says, "Mom, don't worry. I practice safe sun". At which, I roll my eyes and think, it might be time to have that other conversation!

Quote of the Day: "People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” Dale Carnegie

p.s. permission granted by said daughter to print this babble


Bobbie's Babbles said...

Comments left on my facebook site:

1. "i love that line about practicing "safe sun" and your disclaimer that you had
her approval. I was thinking about that the whole time i was reading it. She is are a lucky mom."

2. Your blog was wonderful. Your daughter sounds like a keeper. Seems to be every mother's idea of an assertive young women.

Enjoy her an learn from her. All too soon she will be leaving for college.

3. That was a great one, Bobbie! You and I have a lot in common……

4. "Great babble. Great gals."

5. "thanks for sharing all that.. it was a sweet blog.."

6. Erica is so pretty and just looks so sweet, I am also glad that my daughter is more assertive than I am, I am learningl essons from her continuely about how to be a strong mom and woman, we al lhave to remember that we are the ones who inspired and helped our daughters be who they are today.

Bobbie's Babbles said...

Comment sent to my email:

I loved your blog. I especially like it because I know Erica too. I feel the same way about myself and my daughter. These are different times and our daughters are so aware of everything and confident beyond belief but it is not too late for us either.

Marc said...

I am truly a fortunate man to have two such wonderful girls (women) in my life. Love you guys!

Lenore said...

loved it as I can so relate!!! I have two Rothman Girls who can also debate me to the ground!! like you, I was never like that and like you, i think it is a good trait to a point!! I do believe in they will be better off for it but at times wish they would save it for others! I guess practice makes perfect so mine are practicing on me!!
with that said, I feel blessed to be able to raise girl's, the bond between a mother and a daughter is unique and special.
Happy mother's day all!!

Jeanie said...

Her self-confidence is clear in may ways, but her approval for you to write this post says it all. You are a very lucky (and good) mom.

Anonymous said...

I wish my mom (or ANYBODY) would have had that conversation with me, maybe at age 12. I was already getting unwanted, unpleasant attention from older boys/young men, and had no idea how to deal with it. My older sister, very thin (no boobs), unfriendly, always playing tennis, never got any unwanted attention at all. I found out when we were discussing her son, and I mentioned how girls were preyed upon. She had no idea!!! Ugh, that's all I'm saying.