My oldest two children are girls. They’re each quite different from the other — one being calm and studious and the other embodying the qualities of a different wild animal each year — but they are both, most definitely, my girls.
I always wanted to be a mother of girls. I’d hear people talk about how boys are easier, but I never understood that idea. Girls are awesome. I get girls. Maybe it’s because I am one, or maybe it’s because I connect with that feminine energy.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore my son. I’m madly in love with him, in fact. We have a special bond that I didn’t expect and that has knocked me flat, but it’s different than my bond with my girls.
The mother-daughter connection is, in some ways, similar to the one I share with my sister-friends. We have the shared experience of walking through the world in female skin. We understand the physical changes of getting boobs and periods. We deal with the same maddening messages from society about our bodies, our roles, our worth. I can share with my daughters what those experiences have meant for me as a woman and help them navigate what they will mean for them.
My oldest daughter is 16, and I can already see my role in our relationship morphing from loving authority to friendly mentor. We can go out to coffee and chat about school and world issues and boys, all at the same time. She looks to me for guidance and values my opinions (thank God), and I find myself learning from her now too. I love how our relationship is evolving, and though I am not so naïve to think that we won’t hit some rough patches in the future, I treasure the bond we have today.
My younger daughter is 12 and is dragging her feet as life pulls her into puberty. She wants to stay a kid as long as possible, and I love that about her. I know what’s coming, and I totally understand her being hesitant about the changes in her near future. I also know that, when the time comes, she will embrace the complex awesomeness of womanhood. But I’m enjoying this stage with her, too, as she curls up next to me on the couch like she’s done since toddlerhood, asking me questions for my ears only.
There’s a confidant quality to our relationships with our girls, a knowing, a secret language, a deep understanding that is unique to moms and daughters. At least that’s been my experience so far.
And when I look into the future, I can see how our connection will both change and stay the same. We will grow apart physically, of course, and perhaps even emotionally in some ways. But girls need their mamas, in some ways more so in adulthood even than in childhood. When they have their hearts broken for real, when they have their own babies, when they find themselves navigating the stormy waters of motherhood — I’ll be there to hold their hands and cheer them on, having been through those experiences myself.
I know some people will think it’s sexist to say that mothers and daughters have a special bond, or take issue with my using gender to differentiate my daughters. I don’t know what to tell you. This is my experience. I have a special bond with my son too, but it’s different. Not more or less than, not better or worse — just different. And yes, some of that difference is due to gender. In the very least, our shared experiences as females create a connection that is unique from the one I have with my son.
I love being a mom of girls, and I can’t wait to see how our bonds grow and evolve as they move into adulthood. Mothers and their daughters — there’s no relationship in the world like it.
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