Robot

My daughter – she’s figuring things out.  She’s only 9 so I don’t put too much pressure on her to know what she’s doing half the time.  Thankfully, Elle’s smart enough to know the difference between right and wrong but sometimes she doesn’t act like it.  Sometimes it’s easier to do what everyone else is doing.  Don’t stir the pot, avoid shaking up the hornet’s nest…do what the majority of the lot tells you to do and explain it away later. 

Like I said, she’s only 9.  I know plenty of adults who do the same thing.  Elle’s figuring that out, too.

As I watch her grow up, I often worry about whether she’ll be a leader or a follower.  I think I kind of know the answer already.  And that’s okay.  I’m her mother. I don’t want her to make her life more difficult than the world will already make it. There have been times when Elle has told me about something that happened at school that involved other girls and being pushed and pressured to do or say something she didn’t really want to do or say. And then she feels an immediate guilt/regret/remorse and comes to me as if verbally purging these feelings will make them go away…and they don’t.  So I tell her “Remember how you feel right now and DON’T DO IT AGAIN!

And then a few weeks later, she does it again. sigh.

Don’t get me wrong – Elle is a fantastic little girl.  She pushes herself (sometimes too hard, to the point of unattainable perfection), she diligently works through something when she really wants to get to the other side of it, she is hard on herself because she wants to know it all, do it all, see it all!  Elle also lets a beautiful sunrise lighten her mood, she asks to massage my feet every night (even if it’s just to get a backrub in return), she creates handmade necklaces and bracelets to sell for .50 cents each to donate to the Jacksonville Humane Society, she makes presents and pictures and I Love You cards for everyone in the family – including the fish.

She’s flippin’ fabulous, this kid.

A mother’s love and concern – it’s heartbreaking.  I see her growing into a young lady, developing a personality that, as she grows older, will still carry pieces of her from when she was a little girl.  Her taste in music is not like an average 3rd graders’ and she expresses herself best with a drawing pencil or in the form of a short story. Elle’s love for Portugal and all things Portuguese is endless, she is fascinated by women in history (Amelia Earhart, Septima Clarke, Sacajawea), strives to impress her gymnastics coach with constant improvement, and she keeps a journal of fashion designs that she plans on turning into pet clothing…after she graduates from Art School and becomes a professional pet grooomer, of course.

Elle reads books about Harry Potter, Anne Frank, the human body, and zombies!  She’s very particular about what shade of pink she will wear (hot pink only – baby pink is for…well, babies), is the founder of many unofficial school clubs that teach other kids about endangered species and fashion and how to eat right, and will fight me to the death over the issue of wearing socks.  I sometimes lose.

Of course, I worry about her.  I’m her mom.  I don’t want to have to give the infamous “So if all of your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?” One day, she’ll be a teenager (gah!) and one day, I’ll say those exact words (gah! again).  I think it’s a law.  But then I have to keep in mind that she’s an only child, and an often-lonely child, who is able to entertain herself and create and explore and design and investigate things all on her own. 

 The only one telling her how to do anything is herself. 

My brother took Elle to a Father/Daughter dance when she was a Girl Scout.  He bravely subjected himself to listening to squealing girls and Lady Gaga’s music for hours…and lived to tell the tale.  One thing he mentioned is that she is very popular with her friends, always telling jokes and trying to make everyone laugh and have a good time.  The second thing he mentioned is that she tends to do her own thing, she marches to the beat of her own little drummer….

Elle does the Robot. 

I crack up every time I come across this photograph.  The look on her face, like there is no better place to be in the world but at her Girl Scout dance breakin’ out the robot…not a care in the world.

Fabulous.

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About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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