Thoughts on my daughter’s birthday
Posted on May 31st, 2011
It’s a tradition among Mommy bloggers to write some sweet words on the occasion of a child’s birthday. You may have noticed that I don’t do this. (I do keep a journal for P, for her grown-up self. Talk about gambling! I may never give it to her while I’m alive.)
But still, I think about it from time to time. The problem is while I’m sentimental, the sentiments I want to express usually aren’t the norm. But this is a different sort of year. Why not?
On being happy and on living fully
Every time I say about my daughter, “I want her to be happy,” I’ve cringed, because it’s not true. Oh, sure, it would be nice if she were happy. And she is a happy child. But happy is our polite way of saying, “I don’t care if she doesn’t get the Nobel Prize in chemistry.” (And that would be nicer).
As a hope, a dream? Happy is insipid. Happy is transitory, wishy-washy, an always-shifting goal. Chances are good my kid didn’t hit the serotonin lottery, anyway. Happy is for stoners and cheerleaders and bleary-eyed new mothers. Happy is hormones.
I don’t want her to be happy.
She is strong, curious, and stubborn, bright and lovely and charming. There is no reason why she should try for “happy.” I want her to grab life by its short hairs and slam its unforgiving ass on the ground until it whimpers “uncle.” I want her to rock the boat, then seize control of the ship. I want her to know how to walk – and fight – in heels. I want every day she lives to challenge her, to teach her something new. I want her to understand duty, responsibility, and honor. I want her to love and to be loved, to know kindness and to be kind.
I want her to live a full life, every day.
I am not expecting to sleep well for the next decade or so, no. All this might kill me. I only hope that when she’s an adult, she still loves me and (occasionally) still wants to kiss my nose.