Today we celebrate V-Day, a day to come together and give voice to the global movement to end violence against women and girls. Today, I, as a mother, celebrate my strong daughter, in the hope that she will never suffer violence to her body or spirit.
Z, a.k.a. Shorty Tai Tai,* can be pushy. She’s always first in line, getting what she wants, being where she wants to be. She doesn’t value self-effacement, and she doesn’t mind shoving to get to her desired destination. We have a lot of interactions where we probably aren’t quite seeing eye-to-eye on some basic issues around taking turns, or giving instead of taking. It’s hard to tell how much of Z’s powerful behavior is attachment-disordered (controlling, hoarding) behavior and how much is personality-driven.
Anyway, she is a child of power.
Over time, though, I have come to love that my tiny daughter (she has stretched into the 15th percentile in recent years, up from off-the-chart itty-bitty) has such authority and strength. She’ll need it in this world, where racism and sexism still prowl.
Here are some recent incidents of Z-power:
Walking home from school:
“Mama, I did something kind today.”
“You did? Great! What was it?”
“When it was somebody’s turn in line ahead of me, I let them go!”
At the dinner table:
I asked Z if she would support us when she is very rich and powerful someday, just joshing around of course, and she said, “Ask me another time.”
Waking up in the morning:
“I woke up and I just thought, ‘I am going to choose to be good the whole day at school today!’”
“Wow…The WHOLE day?”
“Doesn’t your teacher have something to do with that?”
“So…it’s just up to you?”
At lunch at school:
Two boys were teasing Z, saying that she was “weird” because she had hummus in her lunch.
She stood up and told them, hands on hips, “Don’t yuck on my yummy!” Having asserted herself and resolved the situation to her satisfaction, she marched over to the teacher to give a full report. But only to let her know what was up, not because she needed anything!
Safe to say those fellas are no longer “yucking” on anybody’s “yummy.”
Although I cannot applaud Z’s corny turn of phrase, I was reassured that in the rare instance that anyone dares to give her a hard time, she’ll be ready for it! Z came home pretty upset that day, but not because she had been put down. She’d already embodied the advice I had in my motherly tool kit: that she should never let anyone treat her with disrespect. She recognized unfair treatment and stood up for herself. In our home, in her school, and in every way I can, everywhere I can, I mean to make sure she continues to do so.
I used to wish that as Z healed, she wouldn’t need to exert her power so constantly. Now, especially on this V-Day (http://www.vday.org/home), I hope for her healing AND for her continued power.
Full Spectrum Mama
* Tai Tai: literally: “great great” – the Mandarin term for Madame or Mrs.