It still amazes me sometimes just how full my daughter can make my heart feel. When she slips her tiny hands into mine, the random hugs and whispered I love you’s, all make me feel so bursting with love I might just spontaneously combust.
Skye’s preschool class was talking about careers recently. I picked her up after a particularly grueling day of my own, and on the way home she gave me the daily lowdown on what she’d learned.
I asked her what career she liked best, she proceeded to list half the jobs in the yellow pages—probably every job they’d talked about. Then she said something that made all the worries of my stressful day disappear.
“But I don’t wanna be any of those Mama, I wanna be just like you!”
With those few words from my daughter, my cup was instantly refilled. She brought the first genuine smile to my face after a crappy day, and she also reminded me how wonderful it feels to have someone love you so much that they want to be just like you. I know she may not always feel that way, so I plan to revel in every second she does.
I will admit, there’s a very big part of me that loves how much my daughter is like my little carbon copy.
She’s already well on her way to being just like mommy. In appearance she is almost a cloned version of me—her eyes, her nose, and those round cheeks that make for the perfect chipmunk cheese grin, all mine.
There are also the many similarities in our personalities: she is stubborn in all things, loves to prove people wrong when they say she can’t do something, and hates to wake up early, just like me. She is jam-packed with sass from the time her head leaves the pillow in the morning until it hits it again at night. We can both be counted on to break into random bouts of dancing whenever our jam comes on.
I love most of the ways Skye is like me. Although admittedly, there are also plenty of ways in which I wish she would be just a little less so, especially when we’re both full of anti-morning crankiness.
Then there are the ways in which I hope my daughter is never, ever, “just like mommy.”
At fifteen I was diagnosed with clinical depression, and I remember it was like a puzzle piece I’d been struggling with for hours had finally fallen into place. Suddenly the past six years of my life made sense, the emotional instability and anxiety I was always fighting off had a name.
But naming it didn’t make it any easier to cope with.
I would be sad for seemingly no good reason, some days I felt like all I did was cry. I felt so achingly lonely all of the time, yet I never really wanted to be around other people. I constantly questioned my self-worth, and irrationally blamed—then beat myself up—for every minor mistake.
Therapy helped, as did yoga. I tried taking anti-depressants for a while but decided fairly quickly they weren’t for me. I’m not the only person in my family who has battled depression either, so I was lucky to be equipped with a couple of the most understanding vents around. But also the fact that it runs in my family, makes me worry for Skye even more.
Eleven years later I still have bad days, though they may be fewer and farther between, when all I want to do is lie in bed and cry into my pillow. Most of those days I don’t do that though, because I have the most amazing little girl just waiting to bring sunshine back into my day.
She is the best anti-depressant I’ve ever found.
I try not to worry too much. After all, there are also so many ways in which Skye is not like me at all. Skye is so outgoing and friendly, sometimes almost to the point of mortification on my anti-social part. At the grocery store, she’ll yell greetings to strangers three aisles away or tell the cashier her whole life story. When we’re stopped at red lights, she makes silly faces and waves at the other drivers until they look at her and is always tickled if they make faces back.
She has never had any trouble making friends, unlike me who rarely left the hidden protection of my mother’s skirt around strangers at her age. Even now I would still rather do pretty much anything else besides talk to someone I don’t know.
Her outgoing personality is just one of the many ways in which my daughter is nothing like me, yet it’s also part of the reason she’s just so good at warming my heart—why she can make me happy on even my saddest of days. While I don’t actually hope she’ll be like me in every way, Skye wanting to be “just like mommy” feels like some kind of parenting win, even if it doesn’t last forever.
There are some ways though, that I want to be just like Skye.