Monday, October 13, 2008

Gal Pal

I don't spend a great deal of time reflecting on the fact that Clare is my daughter. She's my child, of course, and as her mother I work hard to give her the love, discipline, encouragement and structure that I believe she needs - as well as her brother. I remember my mom telling me, upon hearing the news from our first ultrasound that we were going to have a girl, that she was so pleased I was going to have a daughter...and many times since then I've wondered why. Ha! I'm mostly joking, although I do think Clare and I butt heads more than I do or will with Danny. I probably have higher expectations of Clare, because I've been in her shoes and want her to wear mine someday, so to speak. Whereas Danny is a totally foreign creature. (Hey, I know you all know what I'm talking about. We don't call him the Danimal for nothing.)

Anyway, yesterday was the kind of day where I really had a chance to appreciate Clare, both as an individual and as a girl. It started the minute I woke up yesterday, or should I say the minute Clare woke me up. Typically Clare wakes up sometime between 6-7. Thanks to the handy digital clock on her nightstand, she knows that when it turns 7, she can come downstairs (on the weekends; during the week we're out of the house by 7:05). Thanks to the ineptness of Georgia Power (and possibly the strong winds), we were out of power from 1-7:30 a.m. Sunday morning. So when Clare woke to total darkness at 6:16 a.m., she panicked (no night light! no clock!) and started crying for me. I anticipated this when the power initially went out, so I made my bleary-eyed way to her room and figured we were ready to start the day. Once I explained to her what had happened, she was fine, and then suggested we go back to bed. Sure! Oh, wait, she meant both of us in her room. Now, Clare never asks us to lay with her, and never tries to come into our bed except on weekends when we go in to wake up Daddy, so I opted to accept her invitation, especially because it was not issued in a whiny manner. It was a rare morning where Danny was actually still asleep, so the two of us got to lounge together in her bed for the next 45 minutes. We didn't exactly snuggle - Clare is simply not a very cuddly kid - but we definitely passed some quality time together. Sometimes she would make pleasant conversation, asking what is my favorite book, etc. Other times we just rested our eyes and enjoyed the lazy moment.

Once our Sunday got going, and the power returned, we slipped back into our usual routine of getting bagels, going to church, etc. I had told Clare that after quiet time we were going to head to Target to find her some shoes, and she was very excited. She loves to shop, especially for herself. Which is a good thing, because her Flintstone feet are very difficult to fit. When she first emerged from quiet time, she seemed a tad tired and grumpy, so I wasn't sure what to expect from our shopping excursion. She perked up once she saw me with my purse, though, and asked if she could bring one of her own. Absolutely, I responded, as long as she realized that she was the one who would carry it. Armed with her purse containing her princess cell phone and camera, plus a pair of sunglasses, she was ready.

I knew it was a good sign when she opted to sit in the row right behind me, as opposed to the seat in the way back. We chatted amiably about what a good idea it is to wear sunglasses, and the bonus fact that they make you look cool. When we got to Target she made sure to take off her sunglasses when I took off mine, and in general tried to emulate me as much as possible. At one point, probably after we got our Starbucks, Clare said to me, "I like hanging out with you," and I remember that I had just been thinking the same thing. We struck out in the Target shoe department, but even that was a pleasant experience, because she remained chipper, and also because I was pleased that she wasn't determined to make cute Hello Kitty shoes work simply because she liked the way they looked. We decided to head to the mall and try our luck at Payless, where we succeeded. As we walked hand-in-hand on our way to the car, I felt very blessed. I won't go so far as to jinx myself by saying that perhaps the teen years won't be as bad as I fear, but I will say that I like having a daughter to gal pal around with. I see a lifetime of shopping joy ahead of us. (Haven't said it in a while: Just work harder, Tim.)

Here's Clare at around age three, wearing the same sunglasses: