My daughter is 9 years old today. It would be easy for me to look around as if I have no clue what is going on and say, “How in the hell did I become a woman with a nine-year-old daughter?!”
(I do know how, by the way…no need to explain).
How to write about how amazing she is without sounding full of shit? As a baby, when her crib shared my room, she used to let out this little breathy sigh…a sort of shudder going through her little body…that to this day is the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.
We’ve been through much, her and I, from before she arrived. She quite literally saved my life as she is the reason for my sobriety today. Being a new mom (single) and newly sober was terrifying, and I have not done everything well or even sometimes correctly, yet she has turned into this amazing young person. We struggle, we fight, but we love one another madly and she can make me laugh like nobody else.
A free spirit, her mind wanders quickly from one thing to the next, not caring if what she imagines can be true in reality—for her, it is true that moment. She is sensitive and has a capacity for caring that reaches humanity’s potential. She is always thinking of others, loves to find ways to give to others and make them smile. Her humor is advanced, has been for some time, as she has a remarkable talent for hearing sentences said by adults in life, in movies, on TV, and then integrating them correctly into her own sentences.
Her feelings are hurt easily, but she recovers quickly. She loves me in spite of my faults, and is able to point out my faults as I am able to admit them to her, and she respects me for acknowledging my mistakes. She loves to learn, to express what she has learned for all to hear, and she is not afraid of trying. This year she joined an ice hockey league and is the only girl on the team, a fact that does not deter her one bit but rather, inspires her to try harder and motivates her because she feels special. When she falls on the ice, she gets up without any hesitation. Even if she is whining while putting on the equipment, she is all smiles once she is out on the ice.
I have been an often impatient, often angry and stubborn mother with her, but we have grown together, and with her help I improve a little more each passing month. Somewhere along this journey since her birth, I moved from a person who often felt I was looking in on my life from the outside thinking “Is this me?” to a mother who cannot imagine my life without this daughter. She brings me joy every single day, even on the days when we fight, even on the days when I feel tired and irritable and PMS-y. Above all else, I try to be as honest with her as I feel is appropriate, and I think that has helped us move forward together.
The next few years will see her growing apart from me for a while, I imagine, as most girls need some space when hitting the hormonal party that is puberty. She will no longer want me to lay with her for a while at her bedtime. She will no longer want me to kiss her in public or call her ‘chicken-butt’, a name I’ve called her since birth. But for now, I will keep grabbing her and hugging her, tickling her until she farts (which always happens!), kissing her neck, and telling her she is the best chicken-butt ever.