From the start(as in five minutes after being born) , I knew my daughter would challenge me. I wasn’t wrong to panic when I heard a screaming baby at the nurses’ station and instinctually knew she was mine. When she wouldn’t stop crying as an infant, I sometimes just had to close the door and walk away. When at 14 months she insisted on picking out her own clothes, I let her. When she didn’t sit in the shopping cart or stroller or high chair, we let her walk. She needed to lead us, so we let her. When she misbehaved, we corrected her no matter how many times a day it happened and how hard she screamed. I would tell my husband that some day this hard work would be worth it, I was right.
When she bit the church nursery worker’s butt, yes butt … I went home and cried. When she screamed and ran away from me in the grocery store… I sat in the car and cried. She was potty trained by 18 months and talking up a storm. She was done with napping before 2 1/2. At three she was playing contentedly and on par with five and six year olds. When she was bossy and mean to others…my stomach twisted. How could I guide her to be kind, while she was busy trying to reign over us with authority, but we kept trying.
She grew into a little girl with lots of friends, who eventually wore shoes outside in the snow, who tried things she wouldn’t try like skiing even though the boots are tight, she learned to read in her own time, and she’s fun to be around. She is confident, joining lacrosse when no friends joined with her. She can approach a crowd and find a friend. At school she listens, I’ve seen it as I pass by her classroom. Her teachers get her and love her for who she is, I am thankful.
While her brother and I sat by the fire last week reading on the snow day. She shoveled, then created a sled out of a slab of ice, checked the maple syrup taps, and built a snowman. While we talk, she runs around the house flipping upside down. While we watch TV, she cuts up bits of paper creating some extremely messy craft. She’s generous and kind and brave and fun. She’s not me, she’s her own person and though she’s challenged me to my core, she’d be the first one to wipe away my tears and support me. She’s fierce and we are thankful for this challenging little soul.