Posted by: zhak39 | February 20, 2006

A Daughter’s Help

The horrors of teenage egomania and insensitivity, wisecracking cyncicism, a rewriting of Ptolemiac Theory where the base assumption is not that the earth is the center of the universe, but that I am. Wait, that’s my adolescence.

I am blessed with a child, a girl child fourteen years old who brings to me her memories of her earlier years like choice grape clusters fresh from the vine, still dusky and sweet and cool from the overlapping broad leaves’ shade. She says, “I remember” and it’s ‘we did this’ or ‘the tea party under the tree,’ or ‘we pretended and you fed us berries’ and every effort I made to amuse or teach or nurture or love when I asumed they were too young to remember comes to fruition. Stocks split–we’re wealthy beyond compare.

But now, now that she is fourteen we don’t play those little games anymore. She doesn’t lead her brothers to me in a crooked row saying, ‘mama, mama, we’re leaf eating dinosaurs, we’re hungry’ and I don’t pass out leaves of lettuce to keep them until dinner. We don’t dress up in broad newspaper hats and velour towel capes and picnic on the sundappled lawn keeping a wary eye out for the giant who could squash all of our cream puffs with one blunt fingered poke. We don’t crouch on knees and elbows to count how many times an inch worm scrunches and stretches to make it to the end of a grass stalk.

We have replaced these with other activities and these are interesting and charming times on a different level. We swap the picnic tea for a trip to the Secret Tea Garden on State St. or just the two of us, we go out for sushi on Tate. We talk about history (which I know all about since I lived through it all) or the quality of the monsters in the LOTR vs that of the mythical creatures in Narnia. We walk together or snuggle and watch anime cartoons on TV. Her higher order thinking skills are kicking in–she’s a flexible thinker and clever. And she is always helpful even if it’s an activity like doing dishes that she doesn’t particularly like.

Yesterday when we went clothes shopping she helped me go through racks. She pointed out the colors she thought would suit me and carried the clothes I pulled down. She is so used to me putting things back, changing my mind and ending up with nothing, she really wanted me to have something new. After trying on one outfit I realized that I must have lost some weight since starting working, which I of course announced through the dressing room door to Helen, and whoever else in the world might or might not care. Smug, well, maybe. We went back to the rack to see if there was a smaller one but no luck.

Ever helpful, Helen held on to the outfit. Her mind and her heart in tandem worked on convincing me to let the moths out of my wallet and buy something for myself. She held the suit a little out of my reach.

“I really think you should buy this size.” she said with unusual graveness in her blue eyes. “Don’t worry, you’ll grow into it.”

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Responses

  1. You’ll grow into it? ROFL I so love that.

  2. If I lost weight as fast as she deflates me ego….

  3. You two are so lucky to have each other. If I could have been sure that I would have had a child like Helen, I would have ordered a dozen.

  4. Because I love you, you may borrow her any time.

  5. lol grow into it! Beautiful thoughtful entry! I too have a 14 year old child, but he’s of the male variety, and not much into sushi or shopping, but that works out really well, since I hate fish and shopping…

    Thanks for sharing this with us, makes a person remember to appreciate these types of moments, because someday they’ll be too cool, or too hormonal, or too busy, or too married, and we’ll wish we’d have paid attention.


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