I am not by nature a sentimental person. I would generally rather shave my eyeballs than talk about my feelings. I am a quiet, self-contained person, I try not to emote, and I truly believe one should never, ever make a spectacle.
So imagine my surprise, and utter consternation, when my daughter arrived and developed a personality that consists entirely of spectacle and boisterousness and ALL the feels. All of them. She is a bundle of emotion and more often than not, I have no clue what I’m supposed to do with it. How I ended up with a child who has a personality diametrically opposed to my own is surely proof that there is a god, and that it’s a diabolical, irony-loving bastard.
Even so, she is a smart, active, and curious child, which is exactly what I hoped for. I’ll take rambunctious curiosity over quiet mouth-breathing incurious lump any day of the week. So every day I gird my loins and prepare to do battle with mine offspring, my own inherent laziness, and find ways to keep her happy and engaged without the permanent loss of my sanity or sense of hearing. Since having her, I have sung and danced in public (SPECTACLE-MAKING! NOOOOOO!), been so tired or frustrated that I cried (THE FEELS! BEAT THEM INTO SUBMISSION AT ONCE!), have gotten paint in some truly surprising places, learned how to do a whole lot of things one-handed, been to more kids’ movies in four years than in the whole 32 years preceding her birth, read the same book over and over and over and over and over again, and sprouted a shit ton of grey hairs.
I have also had more fun and laughed harder than I ever have in my whole life. Everything is new again, because I get to watch her experience things for the first time. She will get to read her favorite books for the very first time, because she hasn’t discovered them yet. She will get to have her first day of real school, and her first sporting event or performance on stage, and her first bad grade, and her first fight with a friend. I’ve had conversations as a mother that I never would have thought I’d EVER have. I ask another human being on a daily basis if she has to go poop. Seriously, what the hell? She’s recently taken to replying, “No, Mama, I don’t have to go poopy because I don’t feel any lumps in my butt.” Cue the side-splitting laughter, and the horror of being so amused by poop in the first place.
I get to learn about the things she discovers and decides she loves or hates. Pooh Bear is a good friend, and she likes honeybees because they make honey for Pooh. She likes her name. If you tell her it is fish or shrimp, she will eat it like it’s her job. Only long, supernaturally complex names will do for her stuffed animal “kids.” The same goes for the rules and scenarios she makes up for games she forces us all to play. She likes to yell and scream and be wild, but she also likes to sit and draw the most intricate designs imaginable if you give her a canvas. She also likes to read, and has fun sounding out new words.
I also get to teach her the things I have loved, and share those with her. Since she was two, she’s known who Captains Kirk, Picard, and Janeway are. She knows about Spock and the Enterprise. She knows about Pern and Thread. She knows about King Arthur and Harry Potter and Dr Who. She likes science and astronomy. She sings and dances to the Mediaeval Baebes and Wailin’ Jennys and Tartanic. I am raising a little geek, and I think it is my duty to teach her about things that I like as much as it is to teach her to read or write or learn her address.
As I said before, I’m not generally sentimental or touchy-feely. But this song is one I can hardly listen to without choking up a bit, because it so thoroughly encompasses how I see my time with my daughter. I do hope that if anyone asks her how far love goes, when my job’s done, she’ll be the one who knows.
Happy Mother’s Day.