I found out I was pregnant with a girl about six years ago. I laid on that sonographer’s table at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Odessa and uttered a few curse words. I was put off because, just like King George, I saw my own end. Little girls are game-changers, and I knew that in just a few short months, this monarch would be overthrown.
My mother tried to console me. She told me that little girls were special, and assured me that I would love having a daughter. “Boys grow toward their fathers, they want to spend time with them and emulate them. But the bond between a mother and daughter, that relationship is a very special gift and lasts a lifetime.”
But at that time, I couldn’t see the gift. My son was such a joyful, laid back kiddo. I just knew having a daughter would add a whole new layer of drama and lipgloss coated complication to our household. I could not have been more wrong.
My Bodacious is a lot of things, overly dramatic and demanding she is not. She makes her own rules, she’s tender-hearted and funny. She loves her brother more than anyone else in the world and has her dad eating from the palms of her soft, dimpled hands. She is fearless, loves to cook and host fancy tea parties. When she runs, it’s damn the torpedoes-style, her head down, full speed ahead no matter what is in front of her. After watching her charge about this summer, my neighbor described her as a child with “momentum.” I envy her ferocity.
But she also has a soft, artistic side and loves music. She makes up songs on her little plastic guitar and sings into her karaoke microphone as she sharks around the driveway on her hot pink scooter. So any time we get the chance, we take her and her brother to see live music. The Hubs and I were fortunate enough to catch one of our favorite bands, the Drive-By Truckers, on tour this year. Our sitter cancelled on us, so we decided to buy some earplugs and take the kids with us. We were not sure what they would think about the show. DBT doesn’t really play “kid music” and I wasn’t sure if their Southern everyman, gritty sound would resonate with them. So, like the awesome parents we are, we brought their Kindles in with us just in case.
Little Son liked the concert until we ran out of food. After I refused to serve him any more root beer, he just wanted to lay down and play Minecraft. But Bodacious, surrounded by rednecks, trucker caps and overalls, well, she found her tribe. She wanted to spend all of her time in the front row, sitting on her dad’s shoulders. I was relieved when she didn’t tie her t-shirt into a halter top.
When he brought her back to our seats, she didn’t want to rest or take a drink. She just wanted to dance. She climbed up onto the bleachers to get a better view, still dancing. Her face, her sweet baby face, flashed in red and blue and purple with the stage lights. The music just washed over her, swallowed her. But it also set her free. I watched her, feet still moving, arms rising with the tempo, eyes closing. She swayed in perfect rhythm and then, she just stepped out into the ether around her. It never occurred to her that she could fall, or that I wouldn’t be there to catch her. It was beautiful and terrifying.
She makes insanely big messes and never, ever, everrrr follows instructions. Bodacious marches to the beat of a drummer that only she hears, I just hope it’s Dave Grohl and not Tommy Lee. She describes her every day look as “fashion.” As in, “Don’t mess with my style – I look so fashion.” She rocks her orange tutu with cowboy boots and a sundresses and refuses to comb her hair because she likes it to “feel free.” Her feet stink. So bad. And no matter what our day has been like, or how tired she may be, without fail she asks me to cuddle and sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” with her every night before bedtime. Even though this request usually means I have to stop whatever it is that I am doing, this time has become one of my favorite parts of the day. I kiss her after every verse, and we always finish the song together, big at the end with extra vibrato. She is … becoming someone amazing. I am so thankful that I get to bear witness to her perfect magic. I’ll get my iron throne back when she leaves for college. Happy Independence Day, little one. Of thee I sing!