A Letter to My Daughter, 10/08

Dear Emmeline:

You're three-and-a-half now, rapidly going on 30, and I thought that it was about time that I started something that I've meant to do for your three-plus years here, which is to write to you. I started with good intentions--I bought a leather-bound journal when I was pregnant with you, and even recorded a few thoughts in it, starting with the night you were born.

But then, of course, Katrina happened, and all of my good intentions fell by the wayside.

Anyway--you won't see any of this for quite some time to come. Some day, I suppose, I'll decide that the time is right to let you know that your mom is also a person, and I'll clue you in to this blog, if it still exists. I have a feeling, though, that that day is a long way away--I don't think my mother gave me the gift of knowing her as both a person and as a mom until I was around 25.

Tonight, I thought I'd start off by telling you about me.

I'm a sentimental fool, often to my detriment--I almost always look back on my past--and the people who were important to me--with fond memories, regardless of how things may have ended--ex-boyfriends, long-lost friends, all those "I wonder whatever happened to..." people. I have a hard time letting go of people who were once important to me, and I'm a firm believer in letting bygones be bygones.

I'm an ISFJ, which means that I have a hard time expressing my feelings (except semi-anonomously, via this blog) unless I feel extremely comfortable with someone. It also means that I can be too sensitive and too self-conscious. I'm working on it.

When I was pregnant with you, my hormones, like those of most pregnant women, swung wildly. I went from being the even-tempered person that my family and friends know to a crazy person on occasion, most memorably when I yelled at an elderly woman in the grocery store (she started it) and the time I threw the vacuum cleaner across the living room because the hose was clogged. (That one really freaked out your father.)

After you were born, my hormones, like those of most post-partum women, swung wildly. I went from euphoric highs to the lowest of lows. During the first six weeks of your life, I regularly sat in the kitchen each afternoon and cried. When K would ask what was wrong, the only answer I could give--which was completely truthful--was "I don't know."

Stray animals know that I'm a sucker. Just ask Boo-Boo, one of our cats, who came to live with us 11 years ago (bearing that name, I might add), when my friend Curtis, who was an animal control warden, called to tell me that there was the cutest kitten at the shelter who was scheduled to be euthanized that day. Or Betty-Kitty, our other cat (and I have to take full blame for that name), who joined our household 10 years ago, after she finally learned to trust me after she showed up at our house one day and lived under our porch, only coming out for food, for about six months. Or Lola, the stray chihuahua/min-pin/I-don't-really-know-what-in-the-hell-she-was that found us and lived with us for a few months until we found her a home, because I'm a sucker and didn't have it in me to take her to the shelter. Or hell, ask the rats that took up residence in our house after Katrina, that I didn't want your father to poison.

I can be cranky, irrational, bitchy, and/or selfish. I'm working on it.

Some of my favorite movies are the Shawshank Redemption, the Straight Story, and Immortal Beloved. Yes, those movies are, respectively, about a prison breakout, a guy that drives across the mid-west on a lawn mower, and Beethoven. Did I mention that I'm weird? If it makes you feel any better, my favorite books are Where the Redfern Grows, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and To Kill a Mockingbird. And the movie version of Mockingbird was great as well--Gregory Peck will always be Atticus Finch.

Speaking of To Kill a Mockingbird, I asked K when we found out we were having a daughter if he would consider the name Scout. I won't repeat his answer here. I was really surprised when he liked the name Emmeline, as that was another one I threw out there thinking I didn't have a chance in hell of getting agreement on. (See, ferry--or fairy.)

I'm really looking forward to passing my suitcase full of Barbie clothes along to you--one of the few things that survived Katrina. As soon as I find it in the attic and wash all of the dead roaches that you know are hiding in there out of the clothes, it's all yours. I hope that you're a little gentler on them than you've been on the Barbie dolls I handed over to you--so far, you've ripped the heads off of Mrs. Sunshine Family, California Barbie, and Skipper. Mr. Sunshine Family, Ken, and Plain Old Barbie are hanging in there, but their future looks pretty grim.

The sleep-aid commercials with Abraham Lincoln and the talking beaver really crack me up, as do the Filipino prisoners performing Michael Jackson's Thriller. But nothing will ever compare to the dramatic gopher (who's really a prairie dog) for pure comedy gold.

I hate George W. Bush (and will be expecting a visit from the NSA to this blog shortly).

My favorite all-time joke, much to the dismay of everyone I know, is the one about the horse walking into the bar.

I think that just about covers it. You're probably a little bit disturbed now and wishing that you could have a different mother, but I'm afraid you're stuck with me. Sorry.

Love, Mom


kelly said...

I have warned every single parent-to-be that I know about pregnancy hormones. I threw a TV down our front steps.

I think that I had the Sunshine family too but I popped their eyes out. :)

Aimee said...

i love shawshank redemption. i think i've watched it every time it's been on tbs. i'm a sucker for animals too. we just had mice in our workshop. tried every humane way to relocate them. sadly, it didn't work & they had to go the old fashioned way :P

Ashleigh said...

I hope she doesn't put her Barbies through what we did!!!! :)

Hey, by the way, as someone whose known you for a long time and probably deserved to be written off...oh, once or twice...I'm glad you're sentimental and that you look back on people who were once important to you fondly. I'm also glad that you have a hard time letting go of people who with whom you were once close. I LOVE YOU!!!