Bad apples and kindergarten

It was seven years ago when my husband and I were sitting in our new spacious home in central Texas. We didn’t know that less than a year later, his job would no longer exist, forcing us to switch duty stations.

We loved where we were living, loved that our son M was happy at the preschool on base, and happy that I was working again. We put M to bed and stayed up to watch some movies, a weekend ritual. This is the conversation we had about family planning:

Me: “Do you think we should try and have another one?”
Him: “Another movie?” (LOOKS AT ME) “Oh. OH! Yeah, sure. Why not?”

A few weeks later I peed on a stick and the result was very obvious. Any more obvious the plus sign would have been proceeded by an exclamation point or “DUH”.

I sheepishly admit that I questioned the results of the ultrasound test for gender. The words “REALLY?” and “ARE YOU SURE?” may have passed my lips.

I was terrified of the idea of having a daughter. I watched too many episodes of Maury and Dr. Phil. Girls at the age of thirteen not knowing who the father of their babies were, giving an entire town paternity tests, “my daughter dresses too sexy”, and so on.

And then there is the old adage, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

I was petrified of having a daughter just like me.

Don’t get me wrong. I was not a bad apple. Okay, maybe slightly rotten but not bad. There was no rebellion. Even went to a four-year university right after high school and grad school after that. Yes, I went out to the clubs. Yes, I may have had a drink or two. And yes, I may have had some questionable wardrobe choices.

So why was I so scared?

Imagine living with someone who was extremely stubborn, never stopped until she got what she wanted, and was at times so sassy it would make you pull out your hair. Someone who’d stare off into her own world just so she could concentrate. Someone who didn’t care if she was the center of attention or singing to herself and quietly enjoying her own company. Someone you had to literally make eye contact with before you spoke just to make sure she was listening.

Yes. This is who I am. My poor husband. This is who my daughter has become. Again my poor husband.

This personality was apparent at four months when my husband and I noticed that she preferred her older brother over all her own toys. She loved her brother and shows this loyalty to this day, defending him and yelling at those who insult him. She is a force to be reckoned with, runs to her kindergarten class with her arms waving wildly while yelling, “I’m here! I’m here!” as if the day can now begin because she has graced them with her presence. She is a social butterfly but doesn’t mind being by herself.

By herself but never lonely.

She had her first boyfriend at the age of four. F the next door neighbor is in her kindergarten class and she’s has even… get this: given him a smooch already! Cute, right? Cute now but not cute at say, ten. Or twenty.

But along with this strong will and determination is someone who is also passionate about life, optimistic to no end, and fiercely loyal to those around her. Someone who roots for the underdog not because the majority could sometimes be wrong but because it’s the right thing to do. Someone who finds the good in everyone and everything around her.

Our daughter went from a fuzzy ultrasound picture to kindergarten graduate overnight. While I have come to terms with our daughter BEING JUST LIKE ME, I feel like that is nothing compared to the new fear that has overwhelmed me.

She is growing up too fast.

Happy kindergarten graduation! Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you! We love you so much!

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