I have mentioned on several occassions the existance of my Rockstar’s Daughter. In the mentionings therein, you may or may not have noticed underlying tones of irritation, aggravation, or exasperation. (These due to the fact that after almost three years, I still on occassion will hear, “He’s MY dad; this is OUR house; why don’t you go live somewhere else.”)
No, it is not all bad, this parenting of a child not of my loins. For example, she had begun to word things as I do, which is in a manner not of this world, and she carries within her the same fondness for princess movies and high heels as I. So, if we sat around all day watching The Princess Bride and Princess Cariboo while alternately sauntering around in stillettos and fancy dresses, the relationship between us would be one that would create awe in those who observed it. However, though I am not a parent myself, I am aware that at times, princesses must be put away and rules must abound; mainly the finishing of one’s homework before bedtime. This has always made me worried that I am seen as the Evil Stepmother that you hear about in those fairy tales in the Daughter’s eyes. (They always have fabulous makeup, but it’s not exactly what I aspire to.)
A week or so ago, I went to purchase groceries and was immediately distracted upon arrival at the store by the giant bins that held massive and slightly deformed pumpkins. It is my belief that in going through life, in order to be happy, one must revert to the acts of their childhood, and not always take things so seriously. While thinking so, I picked out the most round and only barely-marred pumpkin with the intent of making it a date with the Daughter and carving it on my next day off. This may seem like an overtly obvious act one might perform with a child, but being not a parent myself, I do not always think that way. I arrived home with Stan in my arms, (so I had named my round orangy friend) quite proud of myself that I had so unselfishly thought to include the Daughter in Stan’s facial formation.
My Rockstar thought it a grand idea. In fact, so grand an idea he thought it that when he went to pick up his daughter the next day, he stopped and bought each of them another pumpkin, so that I could have Stan all to myself. The carving of pumpkin flesh commenced on the next day, upon the floor of the living room.
At first, I was thinking that perhaps my idea for child/ almost stepmother bonding time was a bad one, when the Daughter immediately began crying and whining because she didn’t know how to carve her pumpkin and was too impatient to let me show her. I diffused the situation by releasing the Tickle Monster on her, and soon her tear-stained face was aglow with delight. My Rockstar soon joined us, and then we were a family stabbing our unassuming jack-o-lanterns on a Sunday afternoon.
My Rockstar’s Dad called at one point, and he left the room so as to give himself privacy. The Daughter and I carried on a conversation, about school, and boys, and then it somehow turned to the subject of her mother.
Now I am selfish and histrionic enough that every fiber in my body wishes to point out the flaws of she who birthed the Daughter any time her name comes up. Luckily, I have just enough common sense to NOT do that exact thing, but instead just nod and listen when the Daughter drones on about her less-than-ideal mother. In the end, this has served me well, because nearing the end of the conversational subject, the Daughter, of her own volition and without any coaching from me, said something I would never have expected to hear from her lips.
“I wish YOU were my mom, and not my mom.”
Upon hearing those words, I immediately had the urge to jump up and issue a warrior’s victory cry, but thought better of it when I realized I was weilding a non-sharp pumpkin-carving instrument. Instead, I chose my responding words carefully.
“Well, you already have a mom, so maybe I can just be your second mom, and then you’ll have twice as many people to love you.”
This solution seemed satisfactory to the Daughter, and we continued to create pumpkin art in an amiable silence. But I will tell you the victorious warrior in my head was making a pretty big racket.