I am cruel to my children. I force them to share a room. It is a small room with a bunk bed, a dresser, a clothes rack and an itty bitty chair that the cat could sit on if it skipped breakfast.  The open spaces in the room are all up above head level, thus the top bunk of the bunk bed is ongoing contested territory.

Girl child lost the latest round of high level negotiations - boy child cried and she caved.  Upon taking up residency in the bottom bunk, she discovered the former tenant, her brother, had written a slanderous comment about her on the bottom of the top bed.  It was obviously written in a moment of passion, and I was impressed at his spelling, but the girl believed that she couldn't go to sleep under such conditions and decided to paint the slates more to her liking.

The bottom bunk now has a rainbow ceiling, which is quite lovely and cheerful.

Lovely and cheerful is exactly how I'd describe my girl child. Even when she is not.

Girl child is a writer by nature and I often find bits of stories, lyrics and poems left about the house.  Her stories are mostly adventures, featuring animal characters with heroic qualities.  Her poetry is decidedly less optimistic.  Here is a typical sample:

It is through her poetry that her inner nihilist speaks.

When I tell people that I have a gloomy girl, they look at her big smile while she roller skates by or performs on the stage, and they do not believe me.  Her interests include sports, theatre, reading and death positivity.  She wrote her first ever piece of fan mail to Caitlin Doughty of Ask a Mortician, after reading her memoir, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.  She is in touch with her inner darkness.

It is sometimes said sardonically that you get exactly the child you deserve.  And sometimes when we clash, when she turns to me with her chin stuck out, cussing her defiance, I think, 'yes, that's me thirty years ago.'  But I also have a child who is unafraid of looking at life from all angles, the hope and the futility, the beginning through to the end, and embracing it all as normal and natural. 

She may seem like a contraction, from her rainbows to her skeletons, but she's more expansive than contrary.  Life with this child means picnics in the graveyard and cuddles while reading about Victorian funerary rites.  We take long walks through the woods, chatting while looking for animal bones.

 It is thrilling for me to have this brave spirit, this cheerfully gloomy person, in my life. 

1 comment:

  1. This was a really neat post. Your daughter sounds amazing! And I love the bunk bed rainbow!