She Is Me: Raising My Reflection
She stood before me, giving me that look. That look...I have seen it thousands of times before. It no longer phases me. It's her go to move, as is the crossing of the arms that would happen at any moment. Three...two...one...arms crossed.
She is so stubborn, I thought. Stubborn. Sassy. Type-A.
As I stood there, looking back at her, I had a revelation. Freud was a freaking genius...and super pissed off that he is not around today to further his research.
I cannot remember what caused that look, the crossed arms nor what exactly caused me to suddenly want to worship the ground Freud walked on. But it had occurred. If this were a Lifetime movie the camera would be panning up to me, staring back at my reflection in the mirror. That look, the crossed arms, the stubbornness, sass and Type-A all describe me. In reality, there is no panning camera. The reality is, I was standing in my kitchen, staring down at my 5 and 3/4 (add the 3/4 or face the wrath) year old daughter, who is literally, my reflection.
She is me.
I am parenting myself.
A few days had passed since my revelation. I have known for years that my daughter was no doubt my daughter. The past few months have solidified the fact that my relationship with her will forever be one of give and take. Two strong, Type-A females are hard to have under one roof. The balance as to when one gives and the other holds strong has not yet been reached.
She feeds off of my mood. If I am at ease, she is at ease. If I am having a moment, she is having a moment. It is as if we are twins, separated by twenty eight years. The dynamic that is my daughter and I is fascinating. I love her spunk and sweetness and am jealous of her perfectly sun-kissed hair. At times I cannot find a way to handle her independence and tough exterior she portrays to the world.
I am looking at myself in the mirror when I look into the eyes of my daughter.
What I see reflecting back at me can sometimes be a bitch.
But she can also be the the coolest chick around.
The relationship between my daughter and I will never be perfect. We will not always be chilling on the couch, singing Kumbaya, sharing a pack of M&Ms. We just won't...she hates to share...yet no matter what I own is really both of ours, right Mommy?
The relationship between my daughter and I will always take hard work on both of our parts. The understanding that we both can't have it our way, all the time, needs to forged. The willingness to listen to one another needs to be achieved. The knowledge that the older twin in this relationship has been there, pulled that same song and dance routine twenty-something years earlier needs to be learned...
Me: You need to pick up all of your stuff in the family room.
Her: But Mommy.....
Me: Pick up your stuff.
Her: Can I have a piece of gum?
Me: You can have a piece of gum...AFTER you pick up your stuff in the family room.
She begins to aimlessly walk around the family room, trying to distract me from what she is supposed to be doing, trying to ask me questions and tell me stories.
Me: You need to pick up your stuff. Last time I say those words to you tonight.
Her: Buuuuttttt Mommmeeee there is too much stuff. I don't know what to do first.
Me: Listen. You can stop what you are doing. I know what you are doing. I have played this card hundreds of times before. You are stalling and it is not going to work.
And three...two...one...that look...
She ended up picking the mess up after gently reminding her of the fact that she will never be able to pull one over on me. I know the hand she was dealt. I know the cards she wants to play. I know her every move before she even makes it. I honestly feel bad for her. I am winging it with my boys. I don't know what cards they have been dealt or which ones they will ultimately play. With the boys, I go with the flow until I find a weakness in whatever it is they think they can get away with. I am at a disadvantage the entire time.
She's my reflection.
I have made a promise to myself and quietly to my daughter. I promised to unconditionally love her, to let her play some of the cards that I once played, to make her leave her comfort zone, to never make her feel she has to be perfect, to emotionally be there for her, each and every second, of every single day.
At the end of the day, there is no cooler, more beautiful, more independent 5 and 3/4 year old girl out there. My daughter makes me laugh until my sides hurt. She makes me roll my eyes higher than she will ever be able to roll them at me. She makes my heart melt with her sweetness. She tests the strength of my self confidence...
Me: Good Morning, Ma'am.
Her: Hi. I want to get in the middle of you two.
Me: Did you sleep good?
Her: Yeah. You are my second favorite person Mom.
Her: Oh. My. Gosh. Mommy, you don't have a shirt on. I can see your boobs.
Me: Well, I was sleeping. I just woke up.
Her: Gross Mommy. You don't have boobs like other girls. You have really small boobs. Nothing in them.
Me: I didn't eat egg salad. Yaya used to say eat egg salad, it gives you big boobs. I hated eggs. Now look. No boobs. Rest of the girls in my family ate the darn egg salad. Boobs.
Her: You are my third favorite person now. And I don't like egg salad but at least I eat eggs.
She smiled that smile. The ha ha, got you smile that looks cute and innocent but is really a check in the got mom category. I know that smile. I mastered that smile.
I crossed my arms. Habit. I hate crossing my arms and try my hardest to not do it.
I am fighting a formidable opponent, who is mirroring my every move.
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