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
13 hours ago