Hi, my name is Jessie and I am not the mother of brothers, but of two sisters: Emma, almost 5 (in 9 days, but who’s counting) and Phoebe, 21 months. I am lucky enough to have met the talented, hilarious Wonder Woman named Emily a few years back as a student in a writing class she offered over the summer. As a loyal reader of Mothers of Brothers as well as the teacher’s pet (having brown nosed my way into her heart with lunch and a latte), Emily invited me to be a guest blogger, to which of course I replied, “Sure!”
So I figured I would take this opportunity to bring just a little more estrogen to this party.
Even as a kid, I envisioned having daughters. Maybe because with one sister and seven female cousins, girls were all I really knew. And, although you may not believe it by looking at me today in my uniform of sneakers and yoga pants (hey, no one needs to know if you are actually GOING to a yoga class), I was a girly-girl. I refused to wear skirts that failed to spin in a full circle. I played dress-up and house and spent countless hours with a game called “Fashion Plates.” I did not do plaid or the wool, monogrammed sweaters my mom would attempt to sneak into my wardrobe periodically, as if I could suddenly be fooled into thinking that dressing like Penny Marshall from Laverne and Shirley was “back in style”.
So when I first found out I was pregnant with a girl, I was relieved. I painted the nursery lavender and hung butterflies from the ceiling. After many months of trying to squeeze into the same black maternity pants, shopping became fun again: I filled the closet and drawers with a rainbow of dresses and leggings. I celebrated NOT needing to learn about boy-related things like the rumored “Morning Wood” and fist fights and How to Pee Standing Up. I felt more comfortable with the idea of a girl because, well, I am one.
Which, I have learned, is not always a good thing.
Once my girls moved beyond those “First” milestones: First Solid Poop, First Smile, First Shaky Step, First Word (as long as it was Momma, in which case it doesn’t count)…my mind began to fast forward – or maybe rewind is more accurate – to a whole bunch of unsavory “Firsts” that are not covered in What to Expect When You Are Expecting. Herein lies the Catch 22, the flip side of the daughter coin: I know too much. I REMEMBER too much. I have been there. And now I am going to have to go there again. Twice.
The first time she doesn’t get invited to a birthday party. The first time she doesn’t make the cheerleading squad or the softball team. Her first sleepover (my mother was right about that one – bad, bad idea). The first time her “best friend” writes a nasty note about her in gym class and leaves it in her other “best friend’s” locker. Braces. The first time a boy doesn’t like her back. Bangs (not for everyone). The first time she gets her period. The first time she gets her period…at a pool party. Acne. The first time she looks around the cafeteria and realizes that her shirt is babyish, her hair is all wrong, her jeans from last year are no longer in style. The moment she goes from a carefree kid, unaware of herself but of the wondrous world around her…to a self-conscious adolescent. When the world that was once her playground becomes the panel of judges from American Idol; ready to point out all the things about her that are wrong -that need to be fixed, altered, improved. Changed.
Who needs a cocktail?
It is at this point in our program that I remind myself of two seemingly obvious yet easily forgettable points:
1. My Children, While Small, are Whole People (As in, Not Me) and
2. This Stuff is Not Happening Right Now.
Right now Emma is dressed in a cape and tiara and only answers to the name Princess Ballerina Hulahoop. Right now Phoebe is yelling “Whoa! Yeah! Ok!” as she stumbles around the house in ladybug rain boots…on the wrong feet. Right now I just noticed that Emma has two new freckles on the bridge of her nose, and that the hair at the nape of Phoebe’s neck curls into ringlets in the humidity.
Right Now is a pretty good place to be.