I have to admit, when the ultrasound tech first told Steven and I that we were going to have a girl, I experienced a moment of sheer panic. What the hell was I going to do with a baby girl? Especially if she was a super girly, I’m-a-princess-and-won’t-wear-anything-but-sparkly-pink-dresses-and-bows-in-my-hair kind of girl. I mean, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually worn eye makeup and lipstick in my life, and if I wear a dress more than once a year, it probably means there was a funeral, a wedding, or a lost bet involved.
Yet, maybe my momentary panic was a bit hasty. After all, this kid had a 50/50 chance of inheriting my tomboy genes. All we could do was wait and see.
Just shy of 20-months-old, Cadence has erased any doubt in my mind that she has even an ounce of girly girl in her. Sure she loves babies and has half-a-dozen baby dolls that she likes to hug and carry around, but usually those babies end up being Cadence’s base jumping partners as she counts loudly to three and makes a flying leap off the couch. And put my girl in a dress and you’ve got a short 10-12 minute window to get pictures while she’s looking cute and unsoiled. After that, she’s likely to be camped out and digging in the biggest dirt pile she can find.
The thing that I didn’t anticipate was the anxiety that comes along with being the mother of a mini-daredevil. I’m torn between my natural instincts to protect my child, and my understanding of her desire to conquer the world and assert her independence. I wonder if it’s the same anxiety my Mom felt when I used to swing as high as I could and then jump out to see how far I could fly, or when the neighbors called her at work to tell her that my friends and I were spending our snow day off school climbing to the top of the neighbor’s old quonset building so we could sled off the roof.
I guess I’m finally beginning to understand why parents blame their gray hairs on their children. But, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It makes my stomach turn to see my child fall off a stair that she’s trying to climb by herself or crash face first on the ground because she’s trying to run faster than her little legs can take her, but I have to say I can feel myself bristling with pride when I see Cadence get up, shake it off, and get herself going again, hardly shedding a tear. That’s my tough girl!
Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to my little daredevil. If nothing else, she may have a very promising career as a stuntwoman.