Reflections on raising two daughters
Apr 10, 2004
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My sister is a scrapbooker (really, I mean it, she's a professional . . .) and she wants me to join in on her projects, she told me she'll help me create a book for my two daughters, I just need to provide the commentary. So, she asked me to do a "self-interview" and I thought I may as well share it with you all, and you can feel free to give me any ideas to spruce this up. This is simply meant to capture a few moments in time, not to document their entire little lives. (The audience for the scrapbook is just my family, my husband, and my daughters (when they are older), so I'm not going to "introduce" anyone in it, but for your sakes, I am a SAHM/WAHM of three, an 8 year old boy, a 6 year old daughter and an almost 4 year old daughter.) Here goes!
Q What is your favorite memory of your daughters?
A When Emmie was born, Chloe wasn't even three years old. She had a hard time accepting her into the family and tried to find ways to hurt or tease her. I hated it. I felt like I had brought a new baby into a hostile environment, and that I had destroyed Chloe's psyche! But then, things started changing. It was very gradual. Chloe stopped poking Emmie so much, then she began to pick up the toys that Emmie threw on the ground over and over. Finally, one day shortly after Emmie learned to walk, I came around the corner of the living room and saw four-and-a-half year old Chloe looking at picture books with 19 month old Emmie. Chloe was pointing out things in the books, telling Emmie the words, and Emmie repeated them back to her. I felt relieved, elated, and proud all at the same time.
Q What is the best thing about having two young daughters?AThat's easy! It's fun to fix their hair! Pull it up, put curlers in it, little barrettes . . .
Q What's the hardest thing about having two young daughters?A Umm, fixing their hair. They squirm sometimes, or pull out the barrettes . . .
Q What are your dreams for your daughters?
A That one could take days and days to answer. I mean I want them to be happy, fulfilled. But specifically, I want them to have the chance to try new things. To make mistakes. For now I want them to feel like they matter, that they count. Does that make sense?
Q Well, kind of . . . but isn't that what every mother wants from her children?
A I'm not sure. I think sometimes mothers (and fathers for that matter) are more concerned about their children looking good to other people than feeling good. I'm trying hard to teach my girls that, while it is unacceptable to purposely and maliciously hurt another person, it is okay to make decisions that might upset other people. As long as it is a choice that they can feel at peace with, that's okay (oh gosh! just don't let one of them feel "at peace" with the choice to pierce her tongue!!)
Q Okay then, what is the biggest fear you have for your daughters?
A Oh goodness, I really don't want to go there. I mean, I'm always worried about things, especially their physical safety . . . but if you mean realistic fear, you know something that has a chance of happening, I'd say my biggest fear is that they will bury their true selves trying to please others. Yes, that's it, I fear that they won't let their authentic selves out. Q Okay, let's move onto cheerier things, shall we?
A Yes, please, this is getting much too serious!
Q Okay, tell me about a moment with your girls where time just stood still, you know? The clock stops, and you just want to sit there.
A Ooh, that's a good one. Well, I can share an experience with each daughter. Just last week I took Chloe and her brother Bradley to the roller rink. Chloe brought her Barbie roller blades, strapped 'em on, and just headed onto the rink. She doesn't roller blade much around home, so she was realy unsteady. She probably fell five or six times within ten minutes. But she kept getting up, and once she got the knack, she skated and skated (or is it "bladed"?) for the entire two hours we were there. She never picked up much speed, and she looked a little awkward, (you know, how you kinda have to hunch over when you're first learning? . . .) but she loved it. You should have seen her face. Nothing but determination, and satisfaction. I skated around with her and she just held my hand. We didn't even talk much, just went round and round.
Then with Emmie. Let's see. We brought out the stroller for spring last month and it was leaning against the house. Emmie asked me to show her how to set it up, and I did. Then, she wanted me to demonstrated how to collapse it, which I did. "Okay mommy," she said, "Go inside and wait." So I went into the front room (yes, I left the door open so I could see her!) and she worked and worked on setting up the stroller. She couldn't do it, so she asked me for help. I came out, we put the stroller up together. and then she started to cry. Not that tantrummy cry, but that pitiful cry from a child who is truly sad. "Honey, what's wrong?" I asked her, "Look, the stroller's all set up now, and we did it together!" She looked at me, and said, "Mommy, I'm sad, because I wanted to do it myself. I need to practice it." When I asked why she needed to practice she looked at me (and I must say here, she had an exasperated look on her face, wondering why I couldn't see the obvious) "mommy, I need to practice it for when I grow up and be a mommy too!"
A Yep, those are the true Mom moments. The times that make all the other stuff worthwhile.
So, that's it, that's the end of my little book. It will be a small album with some of my favorite photos, and the journaling will be written alongside it. Let me know (nicely, please!!) what you think, and thanks for reading this.