Through my daughter, I am reliving my childhood

Recently we were visiting my parents and as usual the kids love to play with my dad. I watched as my three-year-old daughter ran into his arms giggling with little girl laughter as he tickled her. When he stopped, she cried ‘More! More!’ and squealed in anticipation. They then proceeded to play airplane as he picked her up and touched her head to the ceiling. After a few turns around the living room, they landed into the big arm chair, my dad panting slightly and my daughter eagerly asking for another ride. He grabbed a book, she sank into his lap and they launched into the adventures of A Very Hungry Caterpillar.

I was quite mesmerized by this scene and a feeling of déjà vu took hold of me: I was watching myself. It was definitely a scene out of my childhood. One that I can’t quite remember in full detail, but the laughter, the fun and the pure love I was witnessing engulfed my adult self and brought me back to when I was three years old riding on those same shoulders, not once thinking I would fall.

The good, the bad and everything in between

Since then, I sometimes catch myself watching my daughter and seeing my reflection, my actions and my words mirrored for the world to see. I see myself as a child in the way she fiercely hugs her little sister, when she wakes up with a big smile on her face, and shares her last piece of candy with whomever asks. But I also see the sides of me that I sometimes wish to keep hidden, like when she is being so very stubborn, when she has a melt-down and storms upstairs, and when she wants to eat the whole bowl of cookie dough! She is not allowed, but I have no one to say no!

Of course, she is not me. Just like I am not my mother. And in many years, in a fit of teenage angst, she will remind me of this, I am sure. She will grow into her own person, go her own way, and make her own mistakes. And I won’t always be there to watch over her. But I hope my motherly embraces will be for her what my father’s arms were – and are – to me: one of the safest places in the world.



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