Last Saturday the Diva and I did culture.
We started with a production of the Nutcracker which was quite well done. We then raced to another theater to see a kid’s production of Jason and the Argonauts. This was fabulously done – with an Irish British cast and director. At the conclusion of Jason, we found our way to grab a quick dinner at a café before making our way to yet another theater for an evening with the NSO Pops.
By this time I was exhausted. We found our seats in the theater and relaxed while waiting for the concert. I, personally, was rethinking my decision not to get a hotel room in the city while attempting not to fall asleep while the Diva was shaking her bushy tail and preparing for a dancing, singing, exciting good time.
The man sitting next to me noticed that vivacious child to my left and commented about her excitement to see Santa. While I could appreciate his attempts to be friendly, I was too tired to put much effort into the exchange. Though I must admit, I think that had I partaken of the lavations he enjoyed before finding his seat, I might have been in better spirits – at least more relaxed (probably asleep too).
But as he commented on the Diva, I turned to my daughter and thought “who is this kid?”
I know, it is odd to think that about your own child, but sometimes I have to look at her and wonder exactly who she is.
A few weeks ago she suddenly appeared in front of me when she wasn’t supposed to be there. She was supposed to be out exploring with my dad and then, this blond kid cut in front of me… cute, wearing the same striped tights my daughter was wearing… and wow… it was her! It was one of those moments when I saw my daughter from a third party perspective. Surreal!
Now nearly 9, the Diva has developed into a different child than the one who sat by my side 9 months ago. Where I used to be able to see a resemblance between the two of us, now… I am not sure that one would guess that she is actually my daughter. Sure there are common traits. Her smile is more similar to mine than not as are aspects of her disposition… neither of us are morning people. But, for the most part, the Diva is proving that nature is stronger than nurture.
My kid is the child that gets up and dances and sings to her hearts content in the midst of a full concert hall – which she happily did. She is the one who happily states her opinion clearly and audibly in a full auditorium while I am the one who sits in the back seat near the door for early departure. Her spirit is notable in that people easily notice and talk to her. At a Dickens’s Tea, she happily takes the part of Scrooge and delights the room of women. And she is the kid that rushes down the stairs not wanting to miss a moment of her first Hanukah celebration – where she lit the first candle.
I sat next to her amazed that this child, this large eyed, angular child, came from me. I would like to say that she is more her dad. That, if she isn’t me, it is his personality that is more dominant within her or that they are his physical characteristics that are emerging. But I can’t. Granted, she resembles him in some ways, but not to the extent than she has in the past. And her thought processes… well, I am not under any illusion that this child will be happy spending her days buried in books trying to find the holes or the anomalies in the patterns as her dad and I do in our own professions.
The Diva is her own person. She is bright and bushy tailed. She is vivacious and passionate. She is the kid that tells the teacher that she forgot to bring her spelling home two days in a row rather than just doing it and turning it in. She is the kid that apologizes with her whole heart – most of the time. Over the Thanksgiving holiday she found a book on Egypt at the bookstore. She wanted to give it to her teacher, so we bought the book. When she wrote a note and sought the book to put in her backpack the next day, my mom became a tad upset. “The book was for a gift for the holidays.” At least that was what she thought. The Diva went upstairs in tears. The book, as the note explained, was for the class reference library because she thought the other kids might find it useful. That’s my kid!
I knew that this child in the striped tights was my daughter – her head on my shoulder, her hand in mine… they are all her. There are times when I wish I could see her as others do – see the things that I miss because I am so close to her such that I know how sassy she can be or how easily she can turn off her hearing when I request that she stop doing whatever it is she is doing…
But I can’t. I can only remember that she is different than me. She is different than her dad. She is a person in the process of becoming a woman; the butterfly before it hatches. I am always reminding myself to step back and watch – to let her be who she will be. I have no doubt that she will continue to develop into an amazing person!
But there are those times when I will look at her and wonder, and rightly so, “who is this?” The answer is something that I am excited to learn over time!