My mother turned to me. “You must not be my little girl because my little girl has the most beautiful brown eyes.” I turned to her with a wide grin. “I have big brown eyes Mommy! “Well, MY little girl has gorgeous long dark brown hair!” Grabbing my hair with both fingers, “Look Mommy, I have long pretty brown hair!” She took a breath. Well, MY little girl is very smart and always smiles a lot!” “I smile a lot Mommy!” Finally, after a long pause she said, “But how can you be my little girl? My little girl has two fingers, one on each hand.” “Me! Me! Me! I have two fingers,” waving each of them high in the air, almost frantically, in her face. “Oh! Then you must be my darling daughter Meggie!” We embraced.
I would ask my mother to play that “game” with me again and again. I never tired of it (although I am certain I often wore my mother out). This was my first experience in feeling pride about my two fingers, my difference.
Last week I was once again given the wonderful opportunity of speaking for the Babybites organization in a telecast to mothers of young children. Heather Ouida, one of the Babybites co-founders, was interviewing me, offering thoughtful questions. At one point, Heather began to ask me about the way my own parents raised me. “Meg, tell us what it was about the way they raised you that resulted in your becoming so confident and positive.” Drawing from my memories and even my recent “Homage to My Parents” blog entry, I advised that, despite all the uncertainty, my parents had both embodied and embraced what I called the Golden Rule for Parenting: “They took a deep breath, gathered their courage, and let me simply be me.”
However, as I rode home from work the other evening, I reflected further. In fact, the support my parents gave to me actually went well beyond that Golden Rule. In playing games like “My Little Girl,” my parents gave me at an early age a feeling of pure self-satisfaction. There is nothing better. It is amazing how these lessons come full circle and I can now try to share those insightful teachings with my own children. I have mentioned in a past blog post that we adopted Savanna, our five-year-old daughter, from birth.
I turned to Savanna. “You must not be my little girl because my little girl has the most beautiful blue eyes.” I turned to her with a wide grin. “But I have big blue eyes Mommy!” “Well, MY little girl has gorgeous long curly
blond hair!” Grabbing a handful of her golden strands tightly with pride, “Look Mommy, I have pretty blond hair with curls!” I took a breath. “Well, MY little girl is very smart and always smiles a lot!” “I smile a lot Mommy!” Finally, after a long pause I said, “But how can you be my little girl? My little girl grew in Nicki’s belly, was born in California and was adopted.” “Me! Me! Me! I was adopted!” proudly pointing to herself. “Oh! Then you must be my darling daughter Savanna!”
We embraced, and I was asked to play her favorite game again. And again. And again.