Most people fall into a broad category of terms to define who they are. Words I’d use to describe myself would differ greatly from how others would describe me. We all make assumptions on appearance or on a career choice or what schools we attended. The characteristics that are familiar in anyone I meet, I just assume they are like someone else I know.
I think most of us feel safer & more comfortable being with people who are familiar to us. I see myself as a Vermonter, Dem. leaning toward liberal & Jewish. So you’d think I’d look for the same. But were is the fun in that? I seem to want my life to be as difficult as I can make it. I married a man in Alabama, Republican to the core & Catholic. Our daughter was transverse & broke my water 10 days early. I had an emergency c-section.
Sophie came out ready to go. By 18 months she was ready to move out, go to college or get a job. She did everything, she could do anything you asked her. She never really had much to say. In her company, I felt like she was a stranger. I felt like she was the adult, that she knew everything, could solve the mysteries of the universe. I think the deep wrinkles between my eyes came from looking at my daughter, trying to fit her into a category or a box. On the outside, she was a beautiful toddler..blue eyes, blond curls. Little fingers that had the fine motor skills of an adult. I would try to put her into terms I could understand. One day she took out all her blocks and made stacks in perfect ascending order (or descending order, I never asked). Ok, great, I can label her as wanting everything in perfect order. Her father is like that. I would feel relief because I fit a square into a square hole. Life makes sense to me now. She is going to be like David. And my brow would unfurl & the wrinkles would leave just a little evidence of having been there. Then she would stand with this wicked look in her eye, smile a wicked smile & walk through all that perfection like a giant villain, a destroyer of worlds. Oh! She’s like me. That was fun Sophie! I’d say its time to clean up, having no idea if she would be like my husband & clean them up without protest or if she would be like me & walk out of the room, leaving chaos behind her. She would chose, most of the time, cleaning them up with help. Help under her terms. Yellow first, animal up, then blue, number up. If I made a mistake, she would correct me, patiently.
Sophie is 10 now, the lines between my brows are deep. Sophie is my puzzle. She can be anything she chooses to be. Teachers told us she has a reading disorder, that falls under dyslexia. That she would struggle with reading. We told Sophie that, and within a year, there was no sign of any disorder & her reading coach said she thinks Sophie is gifted. Teachers would tell me she understands adult themes in books, that she can comprehend stories at three or four grade levels above. As the teacher’s are telling me this, I see their eyebrows furrow, the lines deepen. I was just grateful that people who spend most of their time teaching children, were also puzzled by Sophie. I still can’t fit her in a category for longer then an hour, because she will be someone else soon enough. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. Sophie’s parents are polar opposites, maybe our traits got thrown out the window when Sophie came into being.
I can wait, but I do often wonder, what (not who) she will be when she grows up. I cannot put her in a box, if I did she would grow wings, just to show me who is in charge. Whatever she decides to do, she will be the best there is at it…and God help anyone who stands in her way.
I wrote the above about a long time ago. Sophie graduated High School, her eyes on a career in finance. She moved in with friends shortly after graduation. I knew she’d fly as soon as the door opened. She is thriving. And i’m learning to live without her in my life everyday.