Someone’s Daughter

Someone’s Daughter

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms

Someone’s Daughter

Long before I had “mom” on my resume, I was someone’s daughter. Of course, I didn’t know what being “someone’s daughter” truly meant until I had a daughter of my own, Drew.

Before Drew even entered this world, my precious daughter was the unsuspecting vessel for a magnificent bundle of dreams and expectations. I promised myself and my future female progeny that her “story” would be more profound, her list of accomplishments longer, her acts of kindness more abundant, her contributions as a woman, and eventually a mother, better than mine. I pledged to confess my life’s lessons and humbling regrets, in hopes that she would learn from my mistakes and tread uncharted grounds and alternative routes along her own journey.

I knew from the beginning that my daughter and I couldn’t be more different. From our hair color and complexion to our taste in clothes and food, we’ve continued to contrast like the black and white on a Rorschach test. I joke that Drew should have been my glamorous sister’s child; my only daughter came into this world adept at applying makeup, putting together unique clothing ensembles, and choosing the appropriate hair products. I endured premature and heated disagreements about ear piercing, leg shaving, and eyebrow plucking—things my still kickin’ Bohemian and pierceless self put off as long as possible.

Don’t get me wrong—Drew is all the things any mom could wish for in a daughter. She’s intelligent, beautiful, creative, and kind. She’s passionate, compassionate, sports a sarcastic wit (okay, that’s one trait we share), is not afraid of hard work, and takes pride in a job well done.

I’ve witnessed her question the world around her, stand up for what she thinks is right, and bulldoze her way down a soccer field. I’ve also viewed the little girl asleep in her bed with all her innocence intact. I’ve observed the tooth fairy losing its mystique and nursery rhymes losing their appeal. I’ve noted the transition from inquisitive little girl to introspective and contemplative adolescent. I’ve seen face value replaced with conclusions of her own. I’ve beheld her all dressed for her first dance while trying to contain my pounding heart. I’ve managed to endure and forgive when she stomped on that heart once or twice. I’ve watched her long coltlike legs carry her across the gymnasium’s wood floor to retrieve her elementary school diploma with all the confidence of someone twice her age. I’ve been there also to see her weep over things not in her control and rejoice when she’s triumphed over the odds.

I’ve held her head and hand in sickness, and I’ve told her stories to occupy her mind while she’s waited at the dentist. I’ve discussed the inexplicable tragedies in the news and enlightened her on the facts of life. I’ve bit my tongue for her own good when I watched her make the wrong choice and remained relatively calm while allowing her to come to the right alternative.

She’s trusted me to protect her, shelter her, and nourish her growth. She’s counted on me to run defense when others have let her down. She’s accepted my powers to chase away bad dreams and bullies, soothe broken hearts, and explain unfairness as best I can. She’s allowed me to learn as I go in this motherhood role and understood when I sometimes fell short. She’s seen me at my best, and certainly my worst, and loves me unconditionally in spite of it all.

Drew is sometimes a mirror reflecting fleeting moments of my own youth and sometimes a crystal ball when I get glimpses of the woman she’ll one day become. My only daughter will, hopefully, one day have a daughter of her own and understand the depth and breadth of my love for her, and the limitless and immeasurable ways she fulfills my life.

Being someone’s daughter is a blessing. Having a daughter is beyond compare.

Lori Shaw-Cohen

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