Thursday, March 22, 2012

On Envy

For eleven years, people have been telling me that my daughter looks exactly like me. She has always resented this, as I imagine is typical since she probably wants to look like herself. Who can blame her? Apart from her appearance, she is also identified as being just like me, according to my husband. He sees her demeanor and energy level as similar to mine, which isn't completely off base.

However, yesterday I witnessed a moment of clarity when I came to understand how unlike me my daughter really is.

The back story is that she had had a crush on a classmate for over year until he broke her heart on Valentine's Day by attempting to return the rose she had bought him. Yes, my daughter is that girl - the one who waits for no man. She shows him how she'd like to be treated by making the first bold move, as if to say, Now it's your turn. During recess the next day, the little coward boy tried to anonymously leave the rose on my daughter's desk. When caught by another classmate, he said he simply didn't want the rose. The classmate quickly reported this to my daughter, who came home crushed. (Hence, the term.)

Okay, so here it is one month later, and this boy approaches my daughter during recess and says, more or less, "I think you're cool now. Do you want to go out with me?"

If this had been me at age 11 (or 14, or even 20), I would have been flattered that he finally liked me back. I would have smiled coyly and accepted the title of "girlfriend" - an honor to brag about in the fifth grade.

But my daughter...she raised her eyebrows at this boy and said, "You kinda blew your chance already."

When she told me this, I was floored. "But didn't you feel vindicated, at least?" I asked.

"No, I don't like him anymore. He's a jerk. I don't even know what I saw in him."

I could have reminded her of the numerous times she'd told me about how sweet he'd been to her, how he'd smiled at her in a special way, how she used to say he would eventually grow up and realize he was in love with her. But I didn't.

I envy her.

Having such confidence (or is it pride?) at that age will help her avoid being the sucker I was for any guy who liked me, believing I should take what I could get. No, my daughter will decide with whom and when she has a relationship, and she seems to know that already at eleven years old. I don't even need to teach her to stand up for herself and not to settle because she's got that stuff down pat.

I respect her. And I told her so.

Hopefully, she'll still need me for the details if not the big picture, and I'll be there for her. In the meantime, all I can do is sit back and watch the show. I'm sure it's going to be a great one.


  1. I love it. He totally blew his chances! Good for her.

  2. Good for her. Your daughter sounds like a strong and confident young woman!

  3. It is wonderful to see our young people growing into mature young adults.
    Make me feel "job well done"

  4. Oh, how wonderful this post is! Kudos and respect for your daughter coming your way from me as well. There are people three, four, five times her age that don't have her maturity and understanding of their own worth. Good for her!
    On the downside, I'm thinking she MAY be guilty of holding a bit of a...grudge? (Her future hubby had better get things right the first time!)

  5. Kathryn, You're not kidding about the grudge part. But she'll learn on her own how hard or soft she'll have to be to achieve the right balance...a mother can only hope.