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?