This post was influenced by a piece of writing Tina Fey did on raising daughters- I actually posted it here last year On Raising A Daughter because of all the crap I read, and I read a lot of crap (meaning quantity and not necessarily quality- but sometimes), her piece is one of my favorites ever. It's stuck in my craw and my memory place because I literally could not have said it better.
Dear Kid Rock-
It's late on a Sunday. The windows are open because the humidity here in the Midwest is finally below tropical unbearableness. I know you'll remember this summer as the summer you lost your first tooth and finally went to Kindergarten, but I will remember this summer as the summer where I stopped washing my hair once and for all. We all have our memories, and that will be mine because, damn.
The windows are open and it's late and quiet. You're asleep in your tiny neon underpants, mouth open, in a tangle of bedding and stuffed menagerie. The summer's tanlines crisscross your tender skin; your hair puffs in and around your mouth and back out as you exhale through sleep, one giant, unladylike breath at a time.
Your Dad has already done his sweep through the house at his bedtime. Garage doors shut, lights out, TV's off, lunch notes placed on the counter for leftover remembrance. He was already in to whisper to you, to turn off your music, crank up your fan, and prop open your door with a random stuffed animal. That's a preventative measure against the late-night vortex caused by the open and airy house, so it doesn't slam your door shut, waking you with a rude BANG and forever causing the Beagle to dive into ridiculously small spaces with the inability to emerge for hours.
I notice the random stuffed animal he chose for said door-propping is Coconut, your blonde teddy bear you've only had since March. Since March when your Grandma G. in all her clearance shopping glory, found for $2 and adorned your twin bed in the sleeping loft at the cabin as a welcome surprise for our stay. You needed another stuffed animal like you need a hole in the head, or like your Mama needs another scarf or tube of lipgloss, but I get it. Your Grandma intended you to love and leave Coconut at the cabin, but you wouldn't hear of it. He would be so cold and lonely and didn't he have a birthday you needed to celebrate back at home with your wooden cake set with faux flaming candles?
You brought him home.
You acclimated him to his new surroundings, apprised him of the natural pecking order of your stuffed beings and there he sat, March-on, in the corner of your bed probably happy to be in a warm home vs. semi-vacant log cabin in the middle of no where, but definitely not the star of your show or stealer of your heart by any means.
But all that changed about two weeks ago.
Since you were tiny, tiny, you've had a habit of waking up and scooping up your NaNa, little Beagle, Lovey, your usual cast and crew, and carrying them with you as you prepared to face your day. Throw into that armful whatever stuffed lovable was new, refound, reloved, gifted, or whatnot. Coconut is currently in his prime with you. He's one happy dude, dude.
So last night, when I saw him sadly propping open your door, right on his side, face mashed into carpeting, it was me who rescued him and returned him to the very valuable real estate that is under your chin, and above your heart. I choose poor Piggy to man your door instead, a fabulous JellyCat-brand corduroy pig I brought you from Ohio when you weren't even two. Yeah, Piggy had her moment in the sun as one of your Besties back in the day, but now it's Coconut's turn. All order was restored in Your Bedroom as I swapped the stuffies out. They get it.
And I knew that when you woke up, an act that isn't highly reviled in this house anyways, and you panicky tore apart your bedding looking for that bear and you instead found him feet away from you on the floor, we'd be at DefCon Level 11 of Insanity & Wrecked Monday Mornings. And no one has time for that. And you'd likely cry-heave, clutching Coconut to your tiny, heaving chest and you would for sure yell at your Mother because somehow, it's always my fault even though it was legitimately your Father's doing this time. And he would feel bad for sure ... because he didn't know. It's just the way it is. He doesn't know.
Because I am the only one who knows. I want you to remember that, dear girl.
It was me.
Remember that when you roll your eyes at me.
When you stomp your feet, or even think of calling me mean, or worse.
It was me when I let you bend the rules in our own secrecy, and nearly cried when I had to reinforce them for you. Remember when you want to stop holding my hand even when we get to the other side of the sidewalk and out of harm's way.
It was me when suddenly, your new friend's mom is so much cooler than your own.
Remember when you think I don't understand or can't imagine life in your shoes or empathize with any appropriateness. It was me when my face flashes in your brain, right as you make the wrong decision. Remember when you want to intentionally wound me- berating me for being a working mom, or traveling or being too present or not present enough or not giving you a sibling, pony, or cat.
It was me when you think you have it the worst. When you want to hurt, or are hurt, or applying hurt.
It was me.
Remember that if you can remember nothing else from your childhood.
It will always be me.