I was driving my 10-yr old home from a class at the community center. Biz Markie’s”Just a friend” came on the radio. I love hiphop, and want to share it with her, in a way that is appropriate and affirming- this is a challenge, because even my beloved Beastie Boys have been unabashedly violent and misogynistic. . I
sang caterwauled like a marmoset along with the tune, all the while, my daughter laughing and begging me to stop. She slugged me in the arm.
I knew it was a special moment. She’s too big to hold my hand, and is trying so hard to grow up. She doesn’t love horses anymore. She’s in that weird stage when kids try to give themselves a succession of nicknames. She’s read the 1st two Hunger Games books, but still likes to color and do Mad Libs. She even writes a blog, but for the sake of her safety and privacy, I won’t be linking to it here. It’s mostly Black Keys videos and pictures of dogs she finds amusing.
I know she will soon be a teenager and will hate me, but she’s mine for a little while longer.
I think about how her short life almost came to an end 5 years ago. We recently celebrated the 5th anniversary of her being hit by a car, falling into a coma, waking from the coma unable to speak or walk.
I think about platitudes like “your children are on loan to you from God”, and I wonder if I’m investing this loan well, will I make a good return and be called a faithful servant?
I’m far from perfect, and sometimes she’s a turd, but we’re a family.
I’m glad that I can help her indulge her passions, and take her to classes she picked, and let her read what she wants, which, more often than I’d like to admit, is nothing.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: I have no idea what I’m doing, and I’m terrified at messing up, at not protecting her by making sure she has the life skills and confidence and wisdom to succeed. I’m worried she might not be interested in being a citizen of the Earth, or a lifelong student. All I can do is keep trying, keep asking for help, keep trying to share my history with her in hopes she can learn from my mistakes.
Or, at the very least, Biz Markie’s mistakes.
In the past I was too eager for peer’s approval. I trusted fast and hard. I did outlandish things for a laugh. I tough I was an extrovert, and that I thrived on being the center of attention, but even in large groups of “friends”, I was very much alone.
Basically, I underestimated my worth as a person, and as a result, gave my loyalty to people who didn’t have the character to treat me with the same regard.
She doesn’t need to spend time with people who would lie to her and manipulate her. I refuse to impose an Americanized sharia law on her. She’s going to make her own decisions, but I’m not ready to let go. I’m not ready to trust her, yet.
I see her having some of the same behavior patterns, and that causes great tarrying and gnashing of teeth.
All is not lost-I have 8 more years to make sure she knows how valuable she is, that she can feel it like a bone under her skin. I never thought I’d be raising 3 daughters, and I love it, but it’s crazymaking. It’s literally by the grace of God that it’s working.
My firstborn made me a father. Now it’s my job to make her ready for the World.