babylizbuttsI think that this photoooo is from about the last summer I wore a bikini. When I was a young whipper-snapper, I owned maybe six bikinis at a time. Maybe one ultra-cute one-piece for good measure. Nowadays, I am kinda between the two Grand Old Dames also in the photo — my dad’s always-skinny Amazon-woman sister Radical Betty and my, well, not-so-skinny (but very active) moom, The Commander. Bikini.

I didn’t post this pitcher to show meeeee in a bikini. I wanted to post a newborn pitcher of my first cute little blonde baby on her birthday. But searching the 30K photos in my iPhoto is a challenge and when I stumbled upon this one early on, I decided I would post it instead, even though that newborn is something like 20 months old here. It’s one of my all-time faves.

Aaaaaannnnnd… Guess what? Today is this cute little blonde baby’s birthday. It is a significant one, if you know what I mean. My parenting job has largely been done for years so I have been reflecting a bit on all those years. Yesterday, I talked about trying (and failing) not to give my neighbor advice about the child he and his spouse are expecting. What would I say if someone actually *asked* me for advice? Well…

The best things I think I did were: 1) Talking to them as if they were human beings (aka, no baby talk). 2) READING READING READING READING to them from the earliest age possible anywhere and any time! Before bed, in bed, at the breakfast table, in the car, on the beach (Indian in the Cupboard, anyone), wherever. 3) Dark Walk. 4) Always lifeguarding kids who swam anywhere, the Moominbeach, Houghton Lake, wherever.

I won’t list all of the bad things that I did. Well I will maybe list a few of them because most of us do them. We raise our voices. We try to direct kids into paths that they are not interested in or suited for. We buy too much crap for them (if we can afford to buy too much crap). We over-explain things. Etc. I’ve lost this train of thought but we do these things because we are not trained to be parents — no one is — and sometimes we encounter situations we don’t know how to handle and we handle them badly. One day at a time…

I regret everything I have ever done wrong as a parent but my significant birthday kid beautiful young woman has put it all in perspective for me by saying that no matter what happened here in The Landfill, she and her younger sister felt safe. Occasionally one of us parents would get angry and yell about something but overall there was an atmosphere of love and tolerance here in the Landfill. Thank you!

Anyway, the cute little blonde baby in the photooo grew up to be a beautiful Amazon-type woman who navigates through life with an aplomb that I can only begin to approximate.

Happy 30th to my beautiful and beloved first-born. I am so proud of you.

5 Responses to “Moooooo”

  1. Paulette Says:

    Don’t you just love this mom’s wondrous tribute? Parental flaws and all? I do. I love her daughters too and I have been so fortunate to have watched them grow into strong, creative, self-actualized women. The Commander is channeling me tonight, I think. She was the proud Grand Moose. Cannot estimate the times I would run into her in town and the conversation would likely turn to her grand babies. The gleam in that woman’s eyes. Happy Birthday, LC!

  2. Margaret Says:

    This is a wonderful tribute! I love the talk of the right and not-so-right things you/we did as parents–a wise perspective. 20/20 hindsight is always right, isn’t it? 🙂 I got myself too worked up about small things(thank god for Patt who was laid back and calm and could put it more in perspective for me); one time I was REALLY angry at Alison, for good reason, and grabbed her by the arm to haul her up the stairs to her room. I wish I hadn’t done that, although I wanted to do way worse. Oh, my, that child could wind me up. There were times when I told Patt “You are parenting her completely tonight because I can’t do it. I can’t handle her!”

  3. jane Says:

    I loved the summer of the Indian in the Cupboard reading! I only wished that you read more each day. Perhaps my span of attention was slightly longer than theirs at that point….

    Happiest of b-days to our Lizard! xoxo Jane.

  4. Tonya Says:

    This is so great. What a loving, honest, warm tribute. Oh yes, the raised voice. We’ve all been there. Sometimes it was called for, but it still doesn’t make me proud of those moments. I’m glad, though, that I wasn’t one to raise my hand (or the yardstick…my mother’s smacking tool of choice). Ah, parenting. Very happy birthday to your daughter, and congratulations to you, too! I’ve always been reflective on my kiddo’s birthday, remembering those details leading up to birthing him. Such a dramatic day! (Long one, too…)

  5. Pooh Says:

    Happy Birthday, Liz, even if I am a couple of days late.