Man, I love it when this happens.
Me: LH, do you have everything ready for the concert tonight?
LH: Sure, mom, I have everything I need. I have the dress, but I just need black shoes, and tights, and a jacket to go over the dress because it is sleeveless...
Me: So, really you only have the dress and you still need to find everything else>
God love her, the child drives me nuts some times. Mostly because she is just like I was at that age. Scatterbrained and naive, with the attention span of a butterfly and the heart of a lion. I have cause to be a little more "in her business" than my parents were with me. I would love to give her the same freedoms I had at that age, but she is not who I was. It is a good thing that I hover over her shoulder as much as I do. Otherwise, I would end up missing a lot of little stuff, like...her school band scheduled events, and tests, and report cards. You know, the little stuff.
Seriously, though, I do worry that I hover too much and I fear that I am overprotective. LH is growing up to be quite the teenager these days. Out of no where she decided that she wants to wear little make-up now and then. (Not that she needs it, or that you can ever tell when she does.) Last week she determined that her hair looks better when she washes it at night (when before, she never really cared if it was brushed, let alone clean.) Today, she is getting ready for her band concert and after getting into the dress, tights, and shoes, she declared to the mirror, "I'm so pretty!"
It makes me laugh to hear her say stuff like that. It is one of the things that really does remind me that we can be so different. I would have been too self-conscious to say something like that out loud. She is completely unashamed and unrestrained by fear. As she gets older, I can see her start to compare herself more and more to the other girls around her. Unlike myself, though, she very seldom finds herself lacking in the comparison. There are times when I hear her wish out loud that she wishes she were normal. She doesn't like her waist (her belly is still round and distended from blood pressure imbalance) and she does not like her pale skin and freckles (although I think it adds to her charm.) These things do not make her doubt her overall worth, they way I did when I was 13, though. I remember looking in the mirror and being so critical of every inch of myself. LH, however, shrugs off her imperfections. She can attribute them to something real and tangible - something that isn't her fault, that she can't change. She can disregard them and move on. Oh, if I had been able to do that as a young girl!
Watching her teach this confidence with her little sisters makes me so proud. They are growing up taking for granted that it is okay to love who you are. Neither TD nor EG are plagued with the insecurities that I was while I was growing up. The fact that they are so different from each other (in their own eyes, at least) helps this concept along, I think. Each of them have their own strengths (and weaknesses) but I have tried so very hard to keep them from comparing themselves to each other. I'm sure I compare them to each other unconsciously, but I try not to.
After LH came along, I was actually scared to have another one. Her personality is so sparkling and memorable. I was afraid that any other child in the family wouldn't be able to compete and might feel inferior. How could I possibly love another child as much as I loved her? Then, TD came along and I was shocked to realize I had grown another heart. I must have, since I loved BOTH of them with all my heart. As they both got older, I realized I had worried for nothing. TD was just as amazing in her own way and managed to hold her own next to the super sized personality of her big sister. When I found out I would be having EG (although I had no idea as to the level of Evil or Genius that was in store) I was so excited and curious about what differences this child would have compared to her two sisters. Sure enough, as opposite as LH and TD seemed to be, EG managed a completely different facet of the spectrum.
Now, looking at them, I see three completely different girls, but they also have one wonderful thing in common. They love each other as much as I love them. That isn't something that can be taught. It just IS. That might be what makes me the proudest of all.