The precarious wobble in my prettiest, pastel heels. The oversized handbag dragging on the floor. The fake pearls, thrown over the wrist in a bohemian style, showing a nonchalance, an easy, carefree style that eludes me.
Because this isn’t me. This is my toddler daughter.
As her hands dance around the confines of my jewelry box, her fingers resting upon my brightest, most sparkly costume jewelry, I see myself. I hear my own voice in the little ‘ooooh’ she makes when I show her a pretty new top or denim dress, her exclamation sounding like an echo of my own when pulling a new garment off its hanger. It’s like watching my reflection as her eyes light up when offered a chocolate treat, our delight in sweet things quite clearly shared.
But it’s not just that.
“Okay. Put that necklace down now. Come on. Give it to Mummy. Else you’ll break it.”
A fairly reasonable request, but one which is met with resistance from a face that offers no hint of compromise, a sense only heightened as my little girl’s hand clutches on even tighter to the inexpensive treasure in her fist. The look she gives me can only be described as determined.
I know where I’ve seen that expression before: in the mirror, staring back at me.
“You’ve met your match,” my husband chuckles, entirely amused and, I suspect, rather pleased by the turn of events. Because I know that he is entirely right.
When my little girl was born, every now and then I would catch sight of her out of the corner of my eye, and what I saw would almost take my breath away. In profile or around the mouth, I could see myself, the genetic line clear and obvious.
It made my heart burst with joy that such an intimate connection to this beautiful creature could be seen. “Look, look!” I’d want to yell. “Can you see? She’s my daughter. You can tell.” And then, she would turn another way, and it would fade.
As she’s gotten older though, I have found that connection in different ways through her behaviors. It’s there in the way she knows what she wants and acts demonstrably unhappy if she can’t obtain the object of her desires. (Unfortunately, currently, this is my phone, and I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to remove it from her stealth-like vice grip.)
It’s there, too, in the way she likes to make her voice heard, and how, even with her limited vocabulary, she likes to let us know her opinion on matters. And it’s definitely there in the way she shrugs off helping hands, preferring to tackle whatever task she embarks upon independently, in the same way her mother does, for good and for bad.
Of course, she is her own person. She has many characteristics that bear no relation to me – such as the way in which she’s become a naturally hilarious little comedienne with her astounding slapstick humor. She shares many traits with her beloved daddy as well, not the least of which is an enthusiastic penchant for food.
All these similarities fill my heart with glee. As well as wonder. I can’t help but wonder how these shared characteristics will play out in the future. Of course, it’s too early to tell, but I suspect our determination, independence, and desire to vocalize our opinions may result in a butting of heads, a contest of wills as she grows and flourishes.
It’s as the mother of my friend, whose daughter takes after her, said wryly, “You’ve got everything you deserve coming to you.”
It’s just as my husband said. I’ve met my match in this little girl.
And how proud I am that I have.