Call it karma. Call it genetic predisposition. Call it reaping what you sow. I call it parenting the child I deserve.
She is me. In so many ways, good and bad. A smaller, spunkier version of myself. And usually that seems like a good thing.
When I was 12, I put my foot down… right into a snow bank. What self-respecting 7th grader would wear ugly, clunky snow boots when they could be rocking a pair of thin white sneakers with flourescent green laces? So what if I had to walk 3 blocks to the bus, knee deep in the snow? What is a little suffering in the name of fashion?
Moms just don’t understand. After as much arguing and weeping as I dared, she decided to let me try it my way.
It took almost a week for my toes to thaw out.
I grudgingly wore my boots the next day. Lesson learned. Sigh.
Me 2.0 has had several upgrades. She is funnier, more creative and, oh happy day, even more stubborn. Excellent.
This morning was a blow out. Her black boots with the silver stars no longer fit. It takes her 20 minutes to squeeze her feet in and she can’t do the zipper up at all. I have 2 pairs that are a bigger size, but apparently the Hannah Montana pair her sister loved are “so embarassing” and the other pair “don’t work at all”.
With over a foot of snow in the school yard, we are out of options. We only have about 1-2 weeks of snow each year, so there is no way I am buying another pair. The school is not as forward thinking as my mother with her let-them-suffer-that’ll-teach-em philosophy. So she has to wear them.
By the time we were walking out the door (15 minutes late, mind you), I was in full froth. Almost an hour of relentless bargaining, whining and outright wailing had taken its toll. In my loudest Angry Mom Voice, much louder than I intended, I yelled “THEY. DO. NOT. FIT. YOU!”
YOU… You…you….echoes through the neighbourhood.
As my howling 4th grader throws herself into the van, I look up to see two sets of neighbours loading their own kids into their vans. Trying to pretend like they weren’t looking. Fantastic.
No one can push my buttons like this kid. I’m pretty sure she was put on earth lest I become conceited about my life and my superior parenting. And she is doing a fine, fine job.
After school, we talked about it. I apologized again (this time with my teeth unclenched) and I told her a story about the olden days when florescent colours were cool and I longed for sneakers in winter. I’m sure we’ll be recapping this discussion again tomorrow morning, but I think I’m ready for it.
The boots might not fit, but she does. Here, with me, always. I thank God for her, especially those rough edges that remind me so much of myself. My children are the best curriculum He’s ever given me. As I teach her, I am learning too: to be teachable, to choose substance over appearance, and that life may be full of necessary unpleasantness, but a good attitude can make all the difference.
I see the best of myself in her also, and am amazed.
I wonder, when God looks at me, does he see himself?
Patient (okay, probably not that one).
One day when my little girl is all grown up, she will spit on her thumb to wipe the schmutz off her child’s face and come to the shocking realization: “I’ve become my mother!”
Oh sweetie, you’ve been there all along!
So here’s me, counting down the days until I can start giving my grandchildren ugly, clunky boots. Then I will sit back and watch the fireworks. And I will laugh and laugh.