My eight year old came home from Grandma’s house singing “I Dreamed a Dream” and donning her first training bra. These two facts don’t really relate to each other with the exception that they both involve my mom.
I exclaimed over her new purchase and watched her pride and excitement about an item of clothing that signified, in a small but big way, that she was growing up. Hours later, I realized my mom had just bought my daughter her first training bra. EVER. I waited for that little kick in the gut feeling to settle into my stomach, but it never came. My partner listened to the story later that night and asked, “Were you mad at her?” I explained my small revelation of surprise to him; that it had suddenly hit me that Lily owned her first bra, and that I had not been the one to buy it for her. There was a small part of me that had expected to be angry or jealous, but instead what I had found was joy.
My village. I am grateful for my extended family for many reasons. I’m fortunate they live in the same town, appreciative that instead of choosing sides they have worked as much as they can to support both me and my daughter’s father during our separation, and thankful that they want to have such a big part in helping raise two amazing girls.
I have a sharp memory involving my paternal grandmother when I was about 12 or 13 years old. Middle school marked the beginning of a complicated relationship with my parents, and I never would have been caught dead being with them in public if I could have helped it. My grandmothers were a different story. The generation gap, combined with the fact that each had raised one of parents and most likely really really really understood where I was coming from in thinking that my parents were completely crazy sometimes, created a different relationship.
I remember walking next to her and smiling. We didn’t see anyone I knew at the mall that afternoon, but if we had I would have said hi and introduced her to my acquaintances. What I remember most was simply living in that moment. She asked questions and listened without probing too much. She didn’t give me the line of “I never wasted so much time talking nonsense on the phone instead of doing homework every night” but instead would laugh at how different things were from when she was my age. She was there for me, in a very different, but also important way, than my parents.
I am not the only one in charge of raising my children. When my daughters reach the stage in their lives where they absolutely will die if they are seen with me in public, I will remind myself of this. Having a support network people beyond their own mom (who is completely crazy sometimes, remember) will enable them to gain a different perspective. They will have people to keep them in check but in a not so obvious way, and, in the end, be loved. Be supported and so incredibly loved.
I love you mom. Thank you.
Related side note: Lily’s dad freaked out when he learned Lily has her first training bra ever. He is not ready for her to be in this stage of life. I told him to hold on, ‘cause it’s comin’…..and to call his mom.