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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the delivery room


My mother got her wish, and I got a daughter just like myself.

I wanted a daughter since I was five years old. My very own living dolly. I knew exactly what she was going to look like. I knew the color of her hair, her eyes and what she smelled like. And the day she was born and the nurse put her in my arms, I was right. Her face was familiar. She was everything I had dreamed of.

I went on a massive shopping spree. I bought dresses in every color, tights with the frilly bum and black patent leather shoes. I spent my days dressing and undressing her. Combing her hair into high pigtails, then French braids, then the most perfect ringlets you've ever seen.

Then she turned two and learned the word "No." "No comb hair Mommy!!!!" No, no, no!!! Everything was "No" with 10 exclamation points after it. By the time she was three she could hit notes Celine Deon could only dream of and every time I put a dress on her, she would pull it up over her head like cone.

She had a mind of her own and strong opinions on everything. My mother would say to me "You are making too much out of her! You're spoiling her." But I didn't know how to make any less of her. How do you not spoil your only little girl?

And if you think I'm bad, you should meet her father! This once fierce drill Sgt. who could make grown men shake in their boots with a single look is powerless against her pout. His yell would make both boys run to their rooms in fear , but barely makes her blink. A simple hug from her and money becomes no option for him.

Next month, she turns 12. She has become more beautiful that I could possibly imagine. She has the most amazing capacity to love. No one could love the life out of a teddy bear like her. Her sights are now set on the newest boy band, and her dreams of growing up to marry one of them brings me back to the days when I plastered posters of the Bay City Rollers on my bedroom wall and swore I would marry Lesley. Every night she rearranges her first best friend, second best friend and third best friend depending on the day's activities.

She's been known to throw a few Avalon Mall tantrums. I've heard the phrase "Please mom, why can't I have it?" or "I'm the only one who doesn't have one!" more than once. Where have I heard those words before? Every time she makes her dying plea for the latest, greatest object of her affection I think back to my own Mother and what I put her through.

In my day, I have been known to throw a few Woolworth tantrums myself. My parents separated when I was five years old. My mother was a single parent with 10 children and ran a boarding house. She literally worked her fingers to the bone. Looking back now, I don't know how she ever did it. Someone asked my oldest brother does he remember what he got for Christmas  when he was a child and he responded "Another brother or sister!"

I remember stomping off at the Arcade on Water Street with my arms folded in pure defiance and my bottom lip stuck out because I wanted something and she said no. I often say to my daughter "There's not a tantrum you can throw that I haven't already mastered."

My mother would always give in just as I do.

So in the end my mother's wish came true, I got a daughter just like myself. I guess we do all become our Mothers eventually and we have daughters like ourselves.

It's funny, I spent the first half of my life desperately trying not to become my mother, and now I am spending the second half of my life desperately hoping to become half the woman that she is.

Here's hoping my daughter has a daughter just like me someday too.