Wednesday, December 30, 2015

To Paige on Her 8th Birthday: 8 Ways You're Already Winning at Life Despite Your Mother

Dear Paige,

Eight years ago tomorrow, you made me a mom. 

By being born on December 31 in Juneau, you also ensured that I would receive the full tax and permanent fund dividend benefits of your existence, and that I would never again need a plan on New Year's Eve.

Thank you! The 18 hours of labor and subsequent C-section I could have done without, but otherwise your timing was impeccable.

Much unlike your mother at age 8, you have your shit (don't say the S-word!) together in ways I never did and still do not. Here are 8 ways in which you're already winning at life in spite of--not because of--your crazy mother. 

1. You're good at math: I had to make my own mom (your Franma) take the train to Providence to help me pass my calculus final in college. She literally asked me if I even took the class. You on the other hand are constantly doing stuff with "number bonds" and "bars" and "groups" and other things from Singapore that I don't understand. Fortunately you've already figured out that I am useless and have ceased to bother asking me for help with your homework.

2. You're a friend to everyone you meet: Every time we go anywhere, even on vacation, you pick up a friend and insist on arranging a play date. You're like a friend pick-up artist. You could totally have your own Reddit thread on grade-school friend PUA culture. The only problem is I then have to get a strange parent's digits, and it can be awkward--something you don't seem to care about. At least you make all your own phone calls for play dates at home.

3. You give zero fucks (that's "effs" to you!) if someone doesn't want to be your friend: When I was your age, I was doing crazy shit like pulling my pants down in front of older boys to impress the most popular mean girls in the class. You would NEVER do that in a million years! If someone doesn't want to play with you or be your friend, you just shrug and move on to someone who does.

4. You are super independent and competent: Your mastery of scrambled eggs on the stove without YET setting the house on fire and your ability to swim and not drown are impressive. Also impressive is the way you successfully monitor and play with other little kids. No, I am not getting you a phone yet, but we're close. Also, we need to work on your fear of the downstairs bathroom.

5. You have good judgment: You never tattle-tale for no reason, and your instinct of self-preservation is strong. Thanks for always wearing sunscreen, your seat belt, bike helmet, ski helmet, washing your hands, and tattling for the right reasons, e.g., when three boys are literally playing with knives in our fire pit.

6. You have willpower: Whenever I had presents, money, or treats at your age I would open, spend, or eat them instantly. Nearly all of your birthday gifts are still waiting for you to open them, though they've been here for weeks and I said you could open some now because I want to see what they are and play with them. I seriously don't get how you're not opening them. Also, I love that you're saving up for a pony even though you know you're never getting a pony.

7. You're good to your body: You're a strong, active, and mighty girl. You're a good skater, swimmer, and skier. You rarely whine on long hikes. You make your own lunches with all the right food groups. Basically you are a bad ass when it comes to fitness and nutrition. Thankfully you're not around to see me eating cake for lunch three days a week while seated at my standing desk.

8.  You're a leader but also considerate of other people's feelings: You always come up with great group activities like an art class or a pretend Broadway production. You always include everyone and have a place and a part for everyone, except maybe Isaac (you're sometimes kind of a dick to him, but that's to be expected since he's your little brother).

I am now begging the universe for you to stay on this path through adulthood, because I lack the psychological (and likely financial) resources required to parent a juvenile delinquent. I've been doing this for 8 years and two kids. How am I still so bad at it?

I love you, my sweet girl. The force is strong in you!

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