February 23, 2005

I'd Like You to Meet The Cub

Until twenty years ago, my life was filled with adventure, drama, excitement, dreams and wonder. My title changed frequently as I made my way through various rites of passage. In the early days I was a daughter and a sister. I've been a friend and a lover; a coworker and an employee; a singer; a voter, an American and a writer - the list of titles could go on for quite some time. At times I was all of those things simultaneously, and more. Then in 1986, I became a mother, and ever since, no other title really mattered anymore. None.

I did not become a mother in the popular manner - planning and hoping with hubby at my side - as most do. This new life-path was a surprise to me; not because I was ignorant enough to think it couldn't happen, but because I had been medically informed it wouldn't happen. In any case, parenthood was now upon me.

Because I cringe at women who feel a need to sit around trying to convince everyone that they had the MOST difficult pregnancy and childbirth in the history of humanity (why do women do this?), I will spare all those details and get to the big picture.

Enter Sarah Jane. Yes, I live north of the Mason-Dixson line and realize my offspring didn't require two first names, but I liked them both so much that I simply couldn't decide, so I combined them - maintaining a space in the middle so as not to confuse it with Sarahjane which I wasn't too crazy about. Don't ask.

SJ made her debut into humanity weighing a hair over four pounds. Already defying all the standards for such a low birth weight, she had all her parts and breathed room air. At the Special Care Nursery, not one nurse or doctor walked by her isolette without commenting on how absolutely perfect and beautiful she was.

I recall having had fleetings thoughts throughout pregnancy like "holy crap, I have no idea what I'm doing ... I don't even know how to be a mother!" Learning how to "mother the cub" isn't something that comes out of a book, or a class, or even word of mouth. It's one of those things that just happens the split second the little one is born.

In August, Sarah Jane will turn nineteen. She looks nothing like me and has so many of her father's features and mannerisms that sometimes I look at her or listen to something she says and just shake my head at this living proof that some things truly are just "in the genes." Having never met the man as yet, by the time she was six years old her movements in dance were identical to his. Her temperament was always much like his as was her sense of free-spirit.

Sarah Jane has evolved into a lovely young lady. Not only is she naturally comical, she is bright, curious, earthy, sensitive and caring; she leads more than she follows and she usually chooses a crooked dirt path as opposed to a paved lane. She is far more of a risk taker than I ever was, and because of this has managed to learn some of her limitations much sooner than I did by her age - though it's been my observation that the kid doesn't have very many limitations at all! She's an overall natural beauty with hazel eyes that smile constantly.

I think every parent would like to see something of themselves in their children. It's human nature. Though we don't share the same hair color, eye color or skin tone, and she could be mistaken for a facial clone of her father, this kid has an incredible way with words! She writes quite well, she's musical (violin, bass quitar and piano) and generally "artsy." She favors drawing over painting and sculpting, but she's equally as good at all three mediums. I'll take some credit for her writing and musical abilities but have to give her father full credit for her other artistic endeavors. I can't make a straight line with a ruler.

SJ was given a choice to study dance or martial arts. She opted for martial arts and went at it whole heartedly for several years. Finances kept me from allowing her to attain a black belt in Tang Soo Do (Korean form), but only by one level. She showed great promise with weapons (specifically Sais) and I have no doubt that she can take care of herself if she's ever forced to.


Figure-skating was another focal point for her in her early teens. She stayed with it for a few years until, once again, we ran out of funds. *sigh*



Though I've made some mistakes in the parenting process, all in all SJ has become a well-rounded and determined individual. She has a wide circle of friends who treasure her.
I don't mind so much letting her go off some day soon to enjoy her own adventures and learn her own life-lessons. She's ready. I'm ready. Besides, it's the only way I will ever again see the floor in her room.
The one thing that won't change when she moves away is my dominant title. I get to be her mother forever. Lucky, lucky me!
(side note: the small scar visible on her upper chin was from an accident she had a few years back. She had an opportunity to have it surgically removed. Her reaction to this? "NO. It's part of who I am." This was one of the dozens of times in her life when I've thought to myself "Cripes I wish I could be more like her.")

6 Comments:

Blogger John said...

Great post Carol! Your daughter is beautiful. Way to go mom! My kids are still young, but lets not rush things, right!

10:10 AM  
Blogger EDS said...

Well said...

2:36 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...

Hi Carol,

She is just beautiful. This was a very touching and wonderful post. Thank you for sharing about Sarah Jane.

Beth

3:00 PM  
Blogger Wally said...

Carol,

One beautiful daughter, and a post to match!

4:01 PM  
Blogger Swifty said...

That's it! You're reference to your daughter as a 'cub' is not just a stylistic choice of word. I've been looking at your pics and you cannot deny, your hair is reminiscent of a lion's mane! Magnificent - your post, your hair, and your daughter.

4:26 AM  
Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

So touching. She's lovely inside and out! I'm stunned at how much we share in common. For ex. pregnancy "stuff" and having daughters of the same age who are artistically gifted equally in many areas.

My daughter is in fine art, music Singing (I'm horrid) (we couldn't afford to keep the rented piano), writing, and theatre arts.

Someday, I'll email you. I wish instead I could meet you for "coffee" during one of your writing breaks. For now, imagine glistening smiling green eyes. We both have gifts of wonderful daughters. You're well on the road to publishing. Hmm. Maybe I can arrange an art show in your area.........

12:03 AM  

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