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There's a wise old saying about one's parents that you "marry one of 'em and turn into the other one". The reality of that cannot be fully appreciated until enough years and therapy have passed to be able to see in reverse and forward simultaneously :) While most of us consider ourselves grown up at 21 or so, some never seem to get there. Some days I don't even WANT to be there. It was much more fun bein' a kid.

This Anna Quindlen piece gave me the opportunity to muse about what kind of mom I am. I remember when Babygirl was 6 weeks old and my leave was up, returning to work and leaving her with a baby-sitter. Some mothers have a choice......financially, I did not. It was a no-brainer for me and not something I thought a lot about. At that point in my life, I was capable of handling most anything ( or so I thought ) and you damn well better not get in my way. Ahh...the arrogance of youth.

Her Dad and I worked different shifts so we had very little family time but she enjoyed lots of individual time with each of us as we passed her back and forth. During her early years, she was a joy and a pain all at once, and I felt guilty about knowing that. Not only was she the only child, she was ( and is ) the only grandchild. Talk about a recipe for the "I'm the Shit" syndrome!

She entered the real world via kindergarten at the tender age of 4 while Mom cried her way through the rest of the day at work. All I had thought about up to that point was how much money we'd save on daycare. There were flashes of insight early on that should have told me it would be a bumpy ride.....like when the pre-school teacher suggested I read "The Strong Willed Child ". OH hell.

Like her Mother and Grandma before her, Babygirl tried real hard early on to do good in school and be everybody's friend. She tried during the social 5th and 6th grade years to play the game and keep up with the well to do friends with whom she had gone to church and school. It was financial chaos for us, but we managed. During the hellion middle school and early high school years, she withdrew from me and I became "the enemy". Those were the darkest days of my life. Literally.

Just as friends had predicted, when driving time came around she sucked back up and went through the paces to get into her own zone with a car and the freedom to explore her somewhat limited world. She stubbornly refused to be a part of anything that smacked of "socially acceptable" like high school dances or sports or sororities. She was a modern day version of ME as a teenager !

I'll spare the details, many of which I didn't find out until she got older and bold enough to tell me. You see, that's how we are. We talk and say dirty words and generally let it all out. And that's a good thing, in spite of what soccer moms and cotillion queens will tell you. We cry and we bond and we accept each other, warts and all.

Sometime ago, my own Mom told me that I should be "less of a friend" and more of a mother to my child. When I look at who she is today, I'm proud to say that I've been both and it shows. As she enters the workforce next week, we'll be carpooling and will have that in common as well as home life. One of my co-workers told me today that she could sense the "spirit" in my daughter during the pre-employment process. "She'll be an asset", she remarked.

And that, my friends, is music to a mother's ears.
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