I found this note on the fridge last month.
Can I say for the record that I didn't mean to raise a daughter who
spells fairy with an 'ie' at the end. This sort of wispy, magical
thinking and fervent belief in the existence of fairy-folk does not
originate with me. Dainty little fairies, the love of pink and flowers and poufy princess dresses; maybe this stuff skips generations?
Though, there are so many more ways I see myself echoed in girl child. Her affection for foul language (it's true, don't be fooled by the sweet face), her temper, the way that everything is totally completely fine until suddenly its not. And even good things. She's darn handy with a needle. Loves to drink tea in bed while reading. Smart as a whip, which I'm oh-so-modestly going to take credit for. The desire for quiet, working mornings.
I can't even say that the casting about for something that everyone else says does not exist is unfamiliar to me. I may have not had fairies as a child, but I did have people living in my carpet, fanatical arguments with myself and, of course, Wonderland.
I didn't mean to raise girl child to think like this because, frankly, I don't really have a plan. But I am so pleased about the person she is. From this bookish introvert comes this effusive, dramatic child who positively sparkles on stage (and has the golden spark plug trophy to prove it). She possesses an enviable combination of creativity and drive. She works very hard to memorize her scripts and songs, she rehearses and practices, she shows up every time and does what needs done. She's has begun, without prompting, cross training for her sports to build strength and improve her ability. I know I am a large influence - cross training, practices, creative work are all things the adults she knows do, it is part of our family lexicon - and a teacher when I can be (am allowed to be), but she has never asked for permission or waited to be handed a map for her goals. She has articulated very clearly what sort of adult she wants to be and while much of the detail is yet to be filled in, she is doing now, already, what she hopes to be doing ten, fifteen years from now.
Sometimes I worry about her drive and feelings of responsibility for other people. She takes on a lot. One thing that soothes me is that when she doesn't want to do something, you've practically got to move mountains to get her to do it. Obstinance is her safe place. Also, in a mixed blessing, she feels the need to write her feelings down and display them in a prominent spot. If the sign on her door reads: 'Enter? NO!' you can extrapolate quite well from there. When she hands you a note after a fight that says, 'When you send me to time out, it breaks my heart wide open and I am sad :( :(' you can start from there and work your way through it with her. I'm actually sort of excited to see what sort of notes she leaves through the teenage years. Actually, scratch that, maybe not. I just hope she keeps leaving me messages, even the nasty ones.
In many ways, girl child is having the childhood I wish I had. It doesn't follow that she thinks that her childhood is the exact way she'd like (in fact, she has a list of grievances she'll tell you if you ask) but I will say that both of us are happy that she is quite capable of doing what she wants and then asking for help when she needs it. She is on it. Even the fairies, if there are any around (and are, preferably, hobgoblins), do not have to guess what girl child wants from them.