Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In With the Old

Me, age 11 (left)   Tay, age 10 1/2 (right)
Taylor found one of my old photo albums and began flipping through the pages.  It spanned my high school years, into college, and even the beginnings of my pregnancy with her.  Like most children, she believes that my life began at the same moment that hers did... that there didn't exist for me a life before her, and that I am not a "person" that I am simply "her mother."  Even though I'm well aware of my age, having her at such a young age, 20, I think sometimes I forget that too.

"I can't believe you played soccer!" she calls incredulously from the living room as I made dinner.  "How many teams did you play for?"

"I played for a club team and my high school's Varsity team."  


Playing Cha Cha in Grease!
"Wait...you were totally a dancer too?"  She squeals with disbelief.  "Who are you in this picture?"  I lean over and looked at the photos.  They were from a high school play.  I smile at the memory.

"I played Cha Cha in our school's production of Grease when I was 17." I replied.  

"WHAT?"  She looks up at me smirking.  "No way.  That's too cool."  

"Yes." I said again, looking up.  "These are all things I have told you, Tay.  You know that."
Junior Prom

"I know, but in these pictures you are DOING it," she pauses, and then, as though she is speaking to someone she's never seen before she remarks, "You were really pretty in high school, mommy."  She is looking at my Junior Prom picture.  It was one of my favorite dresses.  Dark purple, floor length with a velvet top.  

"Thanks, girl," I say finally coming over to sit with her.  I pick up the album, flip through it with her, half remembering at the images, telling her short stories and recalling things from years gone by.  And she listens quietly, enthralled with it all, as though I were reading to her out of a book from the library.  I realize how much of me she doesn't know.

"Tell me more stories." she whispers.  And she spends the next thirty minutes asking me about my life, the life before she was here.  Her voice getting loud saying, "NO WAY!" when she learned that we had so much in common... that she was so very much like the person I was before she was born.  That she actually might like what she was hearing.  I haven't always the lame authority figure she spent hours rolling her eyes towards.

Skutt's Girls' Varsity FIRST Ever State Soccer Game
(Pictured with my sister, Jenny)
It was a person that she's never met.  And for the first time she talked to me like I wasn't the woman who folds her clothes, makes her do her homework and empty the dishwasher, drive her to dance, soccer, and put her to bed with a kiss and and a hug each night.  I was suddenly this person, who had stories, who had done things she didn't even know about, and she was relating to me in a different way.  She even began to see herself in me.  And not just as my biological daughter, but as something familiar, like a friend, with more depth, and with the clarity of finally seeing something for the first time. Something so completely unexpected.
Family Picture (1997)
And I can't have her future, she's yet to write it.  I don't even know how long I'll be a part of it, those things are unknown.  She can't experience my past, it's so far behind me, but we've found an in-between.  We can appreciate the things that neither of us normally sees or appreciates outside the business of our everyday lives and the roles that we play to each other.  And so we've decided that sometimes, when the chaos is dim and our "mom" and "daughter" hats are temporarily put away, we will slip away for a few minutes and just be the people that we are...

It turns out we have a lot to talk about.