Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Just like Me

"I hope you have one just like you," my mother yelled as I stomped off slamming my door behind me. 

"Me too," I shouted back, sliding my back down the closed door, placing my hands over my tear stained face.  "Maybe then I will have someone to talk to who actually makes sense!" 

The echoes of her devious laughter bellowed down the hallway and off every inch of my mind.  At eight years old, I could not even begin to imagine what could possibly be so funny about that.   
"Get back in bed, Chloe," I said without having to look up to see who the small footsteps coming down the stairs belonged to.

"But, my tummy hurts, Mommy."  She peeked her head around the corner flashing her tremendously large grey eyes.  Her lips pressed gently out into an over exaggerated pout.  It was enough to melt anyone's heart immediately, if only I had not seen it a million times before.

"You have already had; a sip of water, an extra hug, five more minutes, snuggles, and your tummy medicine, there is nothing else I can do.  You need to go to sleep."
Hysterical sobs began to flood the staircase as she threw herself to the floor.  "But I can't sleep when my tummy hurts, and my room is too dark, and my blankie just isn't warm enough, and and and..."

"That is enough, now go to bed!"

The sounds of her wails grew louder as she pounded up the stairs and slammed her door.  "You just don't love me, that's all!"

I leaned back on the couch, sighing deeply.  My body molding into the cushion below.  Every cell in my body was exhausted to the bone.  As I tried to mentally recuperate from the emotional toils of the past twelve hours the sounds of satisfied snickering came from the right side of the room.  I turned my head to see my father, who was visiting at the time, grinning from ear to ear glaring at me with a crazed look in his eyes, completely satisfied.

"She is just like you, you know."  He leaned back, placing his hands behind his head, enjoying the relaxation I was trying to accomplish.

"She is not.  I was no where near that difficult as a child.  Sure, I had my moments, but I," who was I trying to kid? The more I tried to talk myself out of believing that I had been anything like my daughter, the more I realized she was me, I was her.  As the light bulb went off my father's smile grew even wider, but it hit a sore spot with me somehow, not because there was anything wrong with her, but because I realized I had broken a promise that I had made to myself all those years ago.  I had not tried to make her life any easier than my parents had made mine.  I felt that I was failing her in every way I had promised I wouldn't when my mother cursedly blessed me, all those years ago, with a child just like me.   
The thing is the little girl who promised to understand and make easy the life of her future child knew nothing about being a parent.  Eight year olds know a lot about how to be good friends, but know very little about the vast responsibility and time it takes to enrich and shape the life of another person.  I was not looking to become my friends with my little girl, I needed to be her mother, whether or not she was a "gift" bestowed upon me to mirror my own personality. 

There were things I could do for her though.  I could more readily help her find her strengths and teach her to use her weaknesses to her advantage.  I could teach her how to use that pint sized emotional bomb of a personality for good instead of the manipulative road I took with it for many years.  I could remind myself to let her be quirky, because as painful as that awkwardness can be to watch, it doesn't last forever.   I could listen to her talk until my ears bleed, knowing how much she needs to just get her thoughts out of her head.  I could gently lead her to the water time and time again knowing it might be ages before she is comfortable enough to drink from it.  I could cut her sandwiches into funny shapes and play her songs on my guitar knowing those will likely be among her favorite memories when she grows up.  I could give her slack when she makes mistakes knowing she probably already feels way worse about them than I could ever make her feel with a guilt trip.  I could brush her hair, count her freckles, and remind her that every single day I love her more than the day before, so much so that when we touch my heart feels as though it might explode. 
Of course given all of those things, the little girl who is just like me, would most likely grow up to be the mother just like me.  I know, because I had parents who did things just like that.  Although I swore I would never say this, I hope when she grows up, she is blessed with a daughter just like her.