wordplay: (dancing)
[personal profile] wordplay
The kids have a two hour delay this morning, and I climbed into bed with A to have a bit of a cuddle while she slowly woke up. She's at such a charming age, and as she woke up we lay in bed and plotted the first part of her epic Harry Potter fanfiction, starring Albus Potter and his two best friends. ♥

But before she woke up all the way she lay there and dozed and I just watched her, staring at her face. She just... god, I love her.

Yesterday afternoon Marc and I ran her Brownies meeting and were taking a friend of hers home afterward. The girls had finished the meeting by tossing around a beach ball that had questions written all over it; the idea was, when you caught the ball, you answered the question that your right thumb landed on. The couple of times that A caught the ball, her questions were, "What makes you a good leader?" (Her answer: "I'm really encouraging.") and "What do you really like about yourself?" (Her answer: "I'm a really good friend.") That last question, that "what do you like about yourself?" came up a lot, and her friend S's answer was, "I'm just really good at everything," which is a great answer but, god, something that only an 8-year-old could deliver with real earnestness. :))

So as we were walking out to the car, I heard S say to A, "Anything that you tell me you're good at, I'll be better at it," and A said, "I'm really good at gymnastics," and S said, "no, I'm AMAZING at gymnastics," and I just saw red. I told S, "S, that thing you just said to A was really rude. You like to feel proud about how you're good at things, don't you?" and she nodded, and then I said, "So don't you think A might like to feel that, too?" And that was it, we just left it there.

After thinking about it I probably shouldn't have said anything but my god, I couldn't stand to see A being so actively shit on by somebody she considers a friend. A, for her part, didn't even blink - I talked to her about it afterward and she just said it didn't matter, that she knows what she's good at and whatever, S is a different person and so it doesn't matter.

And, just, y'all - how the fuck is she even real?!

Because this is not who I am, this isn't even close to how I evaluate myself and think about myself. This is more Marc, this sort of cool aplomb and easy confidence and salt-of-the-earth lack of competition. O is more in the middle, more competitive about some things but totally unimpressed by things he doesn't feel are important. I am more likely to feel like I need to win at everything ever - I'm so much better about it than I used to be, because I consider myself a recovering perfectionist (the crazyass Kurt/Blaine writing, actually, is a sign of that. In the past there would have been a lot of thinking and examining and hashing out and editing, but what I've discovered recently is the joy of just executing and pushing it out there - seriously, what a rush!), but there was a time when I would have felt just so much need to win any contest anybody could bring to me.

So this morning I was watching A doze, watching her tiny little eyelids twitch while she tried very hard not to wake up, and thinking about who she is. Because one day in the future I can imagine her being the female version of her dad and, y'all, I really need to start getting used to that idea now, because it put a knot in my belly.

Those of you who know her dad know that he's just a fucking lovely man - kind and generous and thoughtful. He's bringing in almost all the income and he does a crazy amount of the childcare for a father - whatever we may think or say about gender in parenting, we all know what the norm is, and we buck the hell out of that trend. When we first married, Marc wanted to spend some time as a stay-at-home dad, and if his salary hadn't inflated so much throughout the 90s that's probably what would have happened, because he's just really, really good at it, and he doesn't have the same compulsive need to compete and prove himself that I do - he's content doing what he loves to do. After 17 years of marriage, I'm no closer to understanding how that works, but as selfish as I am I can say that it really works for me, because I can sit over here and throw myself against challenges and push push push, and then come back to him and he always tells me I'm amazing and strokes my hair, and he'll make sure the kids get fed and to school and lessons on time while I'm distracted by banging my head against whatever wall seems reasonable at the moment. And there's no resentment in any of this, for either of us, because both of us are doing what we want to do and what feels right for us - it's a remarkably good fit for two people who got married as early as we did. Neither of us is "the wife"; both of us are "the wife".

So, that's all known, you guys all know that, and now I'm looking at my daughter and seeing somebody who's so amazing, so smart and talented and completely her father's daughter, so easily confident and loving and uncompetitive. And this morning when I was looking at her peaceful face, I thought, "one day, she's going to just love being somebody's mother" and I can see her, I can see her at 30 beaming and happy and so full of love, that's who she just is. She is going to be a person who takes enormous pride in being a wife and a mother, and that has always given me some kind of Free To Be You And Me-related hives, and I can't stand the possibility that because I am who I am and I have all these hangups about feminism and gender expectations and the joys and necessities of competition and success and all of that that she will ever feel in any way like I don't completely approve of her.

Because I love her. I think I probably don't completely understand her? But god do I adore her.

Parenting, man. No matter how hard you work at it, you feel like you're never doing enough.
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April 2011

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