Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thank Heaven for Little Girls by Nannette Croce

I have one child. All through my pregnancy I assumed––maybe even hoped?–-for a boy. No special reason, except I was a woman––obviously–-and I had an older sister. I grew up with a male cousin living next door. Just close enough to make the male world appear mysterious and exciting without any of the downside of brotherhood.

I gave birth to a girl. As most mothers, once she was there in my arms I felt no disappointment, but what surprised was the immediate connection. She was a female with all the same parts functioning in a way I understood. In the first few weeks of life, females––thank heaven I was warned in advance––may even menstruate slightly.

Of course, no parent knows fully what to expect as a child grows. She’s taken a few turns I didn’t or at least I don’t remember taking. But things like her relationship with her Dad, her later love/hate relationship with me, her first love, her first breakup, followed the path I knew they would.

My daughter graduates college in a few weeks. When she left us, four years ago, she went long intervals without calling. I didn’t panic. She needed to establish her independence. In this last year, though, she calls more often. We talk mostly about her future, how to transition from college to the real world, where she will look for jobs.

Instead of feeling threatened by my advice, she seeks it out. This is her rehearsal for the next phase. Some women prefer the childhood years. Not me. This is what it was all for. All the intervals of wakeful nights. All the arguments, frustrations, tears. From here on our relationship will continue woman to woman.


Barbara Quinn said...

The bond between parent and child is a lovely part of life and your good relationship with your daughter comes shining through! My son has enriched my life in immeasurable ways and now that he's grown I find myself not only giving advice, but seeking his counsel.It's great when a kid turns into a best friend.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Isn't it just the BEST to finally get past parent-child and on to a friendship relationship?

Kathryn Magendie said...

I wanted a boy - I Knew I was having a boy - people asked, "what if its a girl" and I replied, "It's not - I know it's a boy." And of course he was! I grew up with four brothers so I was used to boys maybe? I don't know, but there you go.

I'd always wanted two kids - a boy and a girl, or two boys -but, life sometimes doesn't allow for what you think will happen.

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