The Little Miss turned 9 months yesterday and is growing up so fast. Just like every child. She stands! Unassisted! For several seconds at a time! This is a development I never would have guessed from this little being who is so quiet and content and unassuming most of the time.
She reminds me of Manchild in a lot of ways. She just looks like she is trying to figure things out. Like she’s taking everything in and in a few months she’s going to surprise us (yet again) with how much she’s already ingested.
And she reminds me of Squish too. She seems very confident and in control of her body. At the dinner table we call her Elastigirl because of her amazing ability to grab whatever she wants, no matter how far it is away from her on the table.
But she is her own person, and she is one that, more than her predecessors, seems to need me. She needs to see me and hear me and touch me and pinch me. And perhaps it is because of this that I feel with her, more than with her predecessors, the need to be someone worth needing.
Or maybe it is just because she is a girl and I feel more strongly that I am a role model for her of what girls are and should be. Perhaps I assumed, subconsciously, that my boys would naturally identify with their dad and, because he is such a stellar specimen of a human being already – kind, thoughtful, generous, chivalrous, humble, selfless, and so on – that they would be fine. They would grow up to be similarly stellar human beings as well. Now, while it’s true that they are with me most of the time, and it’s true that I try very hard to be patient and loving with them, that I try to give them my time and attention as much as they need it, and that I try to involve them and teach them as much as I can, it is also true that actually being someone they would like to emulate has not been one of my conscious intentions.
It is now. Now that I have a daughter. And it makes me think about what I do and who I am in a way that I haven’t in a long time. I think about how I dress and whether or not I do my hair. I think about the way I prepare food and how I sit and talk at the dinner table. I think about how I carry myself and how I touch my body. I think about how I talk about people when they aren’t there. I think about how I talk to people when they are there. I think about how I spend my time – not in the sense of doing things I should or shouldn’t be doing, but in the sense of how my daughter will remember me spending my time, if she were to look back.
I have no delusions that she will choose to follow the path that I have taken, or that she will even want to be like me. She is her own person, after all, and her life could be very different from mine. But I appreciate that I get to have this experience because of her. I appreciate the opportunity to think about what kind of woman I would want my daughter to be and to try to be that woman. It’s very different from thinking about what kind of mom I want to be. And I like it. I like being able to see myself as a person, as a woman, again, and not just as a mom.
It’s different and it’s good.