Before our daughter came into this world, I would often imagine and daydream what she’d be like. Definitely quiet, dainty, playful and super delicate – the way all little girls are. She’d never get too stressed out and would remain calm in times of trouble, which is something she’d inherit from me and she’d care about others with all her heart just like her father. She’d enjoy cooking, music and crafts, and embody all of my characteristics because doesn’t every daughter grow up to exactly like their mom?
Nine months later and all of our guessing and impatient anticipation led us to July 10, 2016 when my water broke and reality hit me like a big gush of water. Some 18 hours later, the doctor said, “it’s a girl!” Wow, there she was – our healthy, screaming 8 pound 9 oz girl, just a little dream wrapped in a hospital swaddle. She had a ton of hair, the loudest cry, a mushy looking face, and was nothing like I expected.
Sixteen months later and she’s still nothing like the daughter I drew up in my head. She’s taken on a small handful of my characteristics, but for the most part, is the opposite of me. She’s independent, brave, courageous, while I tend to be dependent on others and too afraid to try anything new. She’s loud, bossy, feisty and physically tough, while I tend to be a pushover and somewhat weak.
I’d be lying if I said I never got upset about how different she is from me, but the truth is, I’ve grown to become so proud of the little girl she’s become and have found how important it is for me to admire the person she is. God created her, he didn’t create my clone. There’s nobody else on the earth like her and that’s such a beautiful thing. She was wonderfully and beautifully made, stubbornness and kindness alike.
When I look back at the time before she was born and revisit what I thought a perfect daughter looked like, it really upsets me. It upsets me because I didn’t see all of the imperfect and different characteristics my daughter has that cause me to love her so much. All of the ways she’s different than me are what I admire about her most. She’s so fearless, loving and confident, things I wish I was more often. She’s so much better than I imagined.
So instead of focusing on how much I’d love for her to enjoy ballet class someday, I’ll get down in the dirt and pick up sticks and rocks because that’s what she enjoys. And while I wish she wanted to hold my hand every time we stepped outside, I’ll let her spread her wings and explore things on her own, because it’s a joy to see her smile as she runs by herself. I’ll admire all of the things that make her unique and continue to teach her to be a good person. While it’s a flattering thought that she’d look up to me, it’s so much more rewarding admiring her.