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Parenting Your Opposite

I used to wish that my daughter and I were more alike. I dreamed of the day when we could go shopping together, have heart to heart talks over Starbucks and get our toenails done…rights of passages for girls.

Instead, I watched my STP child (living in the moment, thinking vs. feeling) rip the heads and limbs off her scant Barbie collection or run her pet rats through an obstacle course.  Because she is so brave, I thought a memorable bonding activity would be to go zip lining as a Mom/daughter duo. Since she was the only child out of our group, she was determined to be the bravest, and the one to go first at every new line. She hiked about ten feet in front of me, leaving me to chit chat with strangers while she focused on her next challenge.

Shopping with her was like getting a hamburger in the drive-through at McDonald’s. We would go into the store and she would find one or two striped tops, jeans of all lengths or sports clothes. Trying something on was way too much work and if we got it home and it wasn’t comfortable, it would end up in the land of misfit clothes.

Despite this, over the years, I have come to admire her strength and lack of drama!  Most people don’t realize that tween girls and drama don’t have to be synonymous! She is completely optimistic and incredibly silly. Being around Jordan is kind of like being around a three-ring circus! It is truly hard to believe that she is about to be in middle school.

I was expecting our typical “drive through” shopping experience, so I was pleasantly surprised when she wanted to go shopping with two of her friends, one of which is a real fashionista. When we got to the store, Jordan crammed her long legs into the baby seat of the shopping cart so her friends could push her around the store. It looked as though her attitude towards shopping hadn’t changed Then all of a sudden, I watched my shopping caterpillar turn into a butterfly! Then, I saw the butterfly turn into Tasmanian Devil! Jordan was running circles around the fashionista, zeroing in on the most adorable pieces and claiming them for her shopping cart! There were breathless enthusiasm and shrieks of, “Oh this is so cuuuute!” Her fashionista friend Gracie was in awe and shock. “Jordan you keep finding all the cute things before me!”

There was no struggle in convincing her to try on the clothes and as I watched her, overjoyed as she admired her reflection in a lovely blue dress, I got a huge lump in my throat. My daughter wasn’t a little girl anymore. Then when all the final decisions were made and we went to check out with the hefty pile of clothing and the cashier announced the grand total, I got another lump in my throat!

So the moral of this story is: be careful what you wish for!  The sooner I started to focus on my daughter’s strengths, rather than what we didn’t have in common, the better our relationship became. Now, we share the love of shopping, but that means that my little girl is growing up! Wishing for something that isn’t, is wishing away the present moment and when I am waving goodbye to her as she drives off to college, I am going to want all of those Barbie dismembering, rat racing moments back!  It is so important to love our children for who they are rather than some ideal image we may have in our minds. Insert Pygmalion Project Story and Definition

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