Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My daughter, my friend

            When Tim and I were dating his mother gave him a warning.  “If the two of you get married, your kids will be tall and have curly hair- they’ll hate you,” she cautioned.  I think she was kidding. 

She was right about two things though.  Our kids are tall and they do have curly hair.  My oldest daughter, at 14 and a half, is exactly ¾ inch taller than me.   Tim measured us just the other day.  And my daughter’s hair?  It coils in perfect springy ringlets all over her head whether she wants it to or not.  

I recently told her what her grandmother said all those years ago and then asked her if she hates us for her height and her curls.  She smiled at the comment but assured us she didn’t hate us at all.

This year has not been an easy year for my first born.  Not because she is tall and has curly hair, like my mother-in-law prophesied- but because she is 14 and in eighth grade.  I thought home schooling would solve all the horrible middle school issues that I remember from my growing up years- the insecurities, the social stress, the awkwardness and diffidence.  Home schooling is no magical solution to all life’s challenges though and the middle school years are the middle school years.  There is just no way to avoid all that necessary growing up and the self-consciousness and awkwardness that come with it.  

Anyway, this year has given my daughter and me the chance to grow closer- though we have always been fairly close.  As social situations outside our home have caused their share of grief, my not-so-little girl has handled it all with much more grace than her mother ever had and lately is showing signs of greater self-confidence every day.  Inside our home she is passionate about her interests, she is amazingly creative, she is funny, sometimes sarcastic like her father, and she is incredibly reliable and dedicated when it comes to her schoolwork. 

My daughter wants to be a chocolatier when she grows up.  It is a career possibility I am as excited about as she is (maybe more).  Last night, I was assisting her as she experimented with her latest truffle recipe.  The two of us were up to our elbows in chocolate ganache and the counter and floor were covered in a thick dusting of cocoa powder and powdered sugar.  And there were the two of us in the midst of the mess, laughing together and discussing desserts and sharing the moment. 

I realized, as we "worked" together, my daughter is really my friend now.  I love that.  I know it is more important for her that I be her mother- and I am that first and foremost, but how cool is it that I really can consider her a treasured friend as well as my child?  


  1. So sweet! I feel like I really need to work on the "friendship" part of my relationship with Mary Catherine (the total opposite problem of what most of my girlfriends do with their daughters...friends first, parent second...I saw this all the time while teaching). I struggle with a sharp tongue and I only want what's best for her...and thus I come across as a strict parent. Yes, our children need discipline...but done so in a loving fashion so that when the time is right (as it is now in your life) one might begin to nurture the "friendship" side of the relationship. Thanks for the food for thought! Adorable life goal...I never even thought about chocolatier as a career path!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Valerie-

      I have always been very hard on my oldest as well. How can we not be? They are our first and we so much want to lead them on the right path in life. And to be the best mothers we can be- without any experience in the job. I know I have been more and more relaxed with each subsequent child as I gain greater perspective on the normal struggles of childhood.

      Maybe that is why it was such a wonderful revelation to see that as my first born grows and our relationship is changing over time, she forgives me for being hard on her. Despite my mistakes, my daughter is a wonderful person and she DOES enjoy spending time with me, sometimes anyway. Of course, she is a teenager- so not ALL moments are fun and games.....but overall, she is a good kid.

      Mary Catherine will forgive your mistakes as well, I am sure. Children know they are loved and feel more secure when mom and dad are in charge, so your strictness is a gift to her and someday she will come to see that and really appreciate it. :)

      Blessings, Kari

  2. Kari,

    Your daughter is beautiful! So are you. We are total opposites. My girls and I are short and we have straight hair!

    We are so blessed to have both daughters and sons. I love sharing with my girls, and passing onto them all I have learnt as a woman. It's very special.

    Yes, mothers and daughters can be great friends!

    1. It is a blessing to have both the girls and the boys. They are so different and my relationships with them are too but that gives our family balance and helps me to see what strengths they each have.

      It is awesome to be in a place where my daughter and i can begin to see each other as friends more and we can grow in that part of our relationship. This is my first chance to experience this part of parenting and it feels like a little hint at the fruits of my mothering, which will be revealed more as the children mature.

      I can see you are close to all your children and it looks like such fun at your house as you all share your hobbies and ideas together.

      Blessings, Kari

  3. This was the sweetest post. I loved it. I had only boys, whom I adore; but I am now experiencing the joy of the mother-daughter relationship with their wives...although it can probably never truly be the same.

    I LOVE your daughter's career ambition. How awesome! Chocolate is one of my favorite things on earth. I'd be happy to taste her creations any time. :)



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