Taking the Smooth with the Rough

Today was one of those days you’re not unhappy to see end. No tragedies, just unfortunate circumstances that make that night’s sleep a welcome escape. The plans my young daughter and I had for a girls’ day with our cousins who live an hour’s drive away were scratched when my car overheated 20 minutes into the drive. My car had to be temporarily abandoned and a friend came to rescue us and bring us back home.

Today is Saturday. This unfortunate event means all weekend plans are negated – and I actually had plans all weekend, too. Adult ones, even, because my daughter is sleeping over a friend’s house tonight. Here I am, showered, shaved, having a great hair day – even wearing what (for me) could be called a cute outfit (as opposed to the way I normally leave the house: lawfully covered) – and I am stuck.

The drive to my cousin’s house was well-planned and supposed to be part of the day’s fun because it was sort of a ‘maiden voyage’ road trip. My daughter is 12 and only this year old enough and big enough to be sitting in the front seat; we had the tunes ready, we hit the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru, and we had the top down on the car. It was 82° when we left. One of our first real spring days here in New England. It will be 30° cooler by tomorrow. We might have another spring day some time during the week (you know, while we are all working). We hope.

Obviously, that little milestone will have to wait. Hopefully, my car can be fixed without too much pain and discomfort and we can try again another time.

There was another little milestone that she crossed today. Because I am me, this is a milestone that I cannot let be overshadowed by the day’s frustration: she shaved today for the first time. While I whined about my car on Facebook, I could not make a public post about this subject – but I can blog about it, because she doesn’t read these!

She’s a weird little kid. Good weird, but weird. If I had told her last year that she could sit in the front seat of the car she would have refused because she knew she did not meet the age and weight requirements. She’s kind of a stickler for those rule things. Don’t know where she gets that from.

But to me, this is a milestone for her because it was a milestone for me. I won’t get into my feelings about shaving in general (but if you want to read that particular bitch, click here), but it was a big deal for me. I remember begging my mother to let me shave my legs in 6th and 7th grade, but she kept telling me I was too young. I tried to explain that shaving had nothing to do with age and everything to do with hair – and Eddie. He was a year older than me and he tormented me for those two years on the school bus, calling me “Hairy Mary.” She finally let me start just in time for 8th grade – and after Eddie moved on to high school. She wouldn’t let me use a blade, either; I had to use an electric razor because she felt it was safer.

I understood my mother wanting me to wait, because shaving is a lifetime commitment once you start. I was actually hoping the hipsters would decide that shaving was too mainstream and take a more European approach before the subject came up for my daughter so that she would not have to take on this aggravating female burden (we have enough). But that didn’t happen.

She asked to start shaving. I let her. And, I let her use a real razor. (6th grade, Mom.)  I found out during our discussion that she had ‘already done her research’ and watched a few YouTube videos that a few girls had made regarding certain events that come up in a girl’s life. Research. Funny kid. With everything I’ve said on the subject already, she probably wanted to make sure she didn’t go through anything I did.  

And in her usual, quiet way (nothing like me), she took care of business by herself – outside of a few small questions – like it was no big deal. Even after she was done she had little to say about it. Hell, I remember staring at my legs for hours after I shaved for the first time, amazed at the transformation and giddy with it.

She did say one thing, somewhat boastfully, about not injuring herself – but that’s because she has YouTube, and me, and she didn’t have an older cousin who handed her a blade without telling her she needed to use soap and water with it.

I have high hopes for her now. She should not be scarred for life like I am.

She didn’t have Eddie. Or cousin Kimmy.

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A Good Relationship with my Daughter

Recently I was out with a mixed group of women; some were related, some weren’t, and the age range went from mid-20s to mid-50s.

My own daughter wasn’t there with me at the time, but a few in the group were mothers and their daughters. Occasionally, I would watch them interact, and I would chuckle because I would see how very similar the dynamics between them were to mine with my own – even when they were arguing (of course, I’d be laughing more then, because I wasn’t going through it!).

It was during one mother/daughter argument that another girl in our group (mid-30s and, coincidentally, no kids of her own) made a comment about their argument along the lines of, “Look at how they are arguing. And she says she has a GOOD relationship with her daughter.”

I thought about that for a moment before I answered, because obviously every time the two of them even snipped at each other I was doing a mental comparison. Yes, still laughing.

I thought about many of the arguments I had with my own. There had been so many and they were so similar that it was hard to pick out details of one – it was like one big blur of the same, repeated argument. The cause could have varied, but the arguments were always the same; words, voice, tone.

Yet I feel like I have a good relationship with my daughter. I tell people as much, too.

I supposed if one were to witness the two of us arguing together, they might make the same assumption. Then, I realized that someone who had children would see more than just the argument.

Of course, I hate to say that to people who don’t have kids; just as much as I hate when people who don’t have children give out parenting advice.

So, I said to this woman:

My daughter and I have had many arguments like that; for a while they were quite often. And I still feel our relationship is close, because it’s not just about our arguing. There’s so much more to our relationship than that. Like any child, she will call me when she wants something or when she needs something. But she has also confessed personal things to me when she was younger – before she got caught. She’s surprised me with breakfast in bed. She’s thoughtful in her gifts. Even now, at almost 22, she calls me just as much to tell me when something good has happened as when something bad has.  She shares details of her life with me. And she wants to spend time with me – not just when she’s bored or has no plans. So, we have arguments. So what? Doesn’t everyone? The bottom line is, those arguments are not what I think about when I see her or spend time with her; they are not the first thing that comes to mind when her name is mentioned. 

We argue, yes. Sometimes even a lot. But we love each other more.

And that means we have a good relationship.

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