Last night, D was reading Little House in the Big Woods to Stella, and I was sitting at the dining room table, planning my new Loft class, Americans Writing Across Cultures, which begins on Monday. I was alternating between working and watching them read because I need frequent breaks from the computer to let my eyes rest. (I had an eye exam yesterday, and I do, indeed, need new glasses. Hence the recent trouble focusing.)
D and Stella looked so precious, cuddled together on the couch, reading. Stella was listening intently, her brow slightly furrowed, and I was struck by how much she looked like me when I was little.
Whenever Zoë or Stella furrow their brows around my mom, she says, “That was exactly the look you used to get when you were little.”
I am a brow-furrower, and now that I am in my late 30s, I have a prominent line between my brows to show for it. Sometimes I furrow because I’m concentrating, intent on something. But often I furrow because I’m worried. (There is a direct correlation between my stress level and the amount of time I spend furrowed.)
As I watched Stella last night, furrowed in concentration, I had one of those pangs, those desperate wishes that she wouldn’t spend as much of her life—her energy—worrying the way I do. I so hope she can hold onto the playfulness, the confidence she exhibits in so much of what she does. But I worry—I admit it—that she will lose that sureness, and that she will begin to question who she is and her many abilities.
I know it’s early—Stella is still young—but ten years from now I don’t want to be sitting at the dining room table with her, wondering where her confidence went. I’m going to get a copy of Reviving Ophelia and read it now so I’m ready. Is that crazy? Has anyone read this book? Did it make a difference?
I’m also thinking that it would be wonderful if Stella and I could do a mother-daughter self-defense class. When I was in college, I took a semester of self-defense, and I remember feeling different—stronger, more sure of myself—after each class. One day after class, I walked into the restaurant where I worked as a hostess, and one of the waitresses said, “You look different today. Taller? Something’s different about you.”
I want my daughters to walk tall, to believe in themselves. It took me until my mid-30s to find solid ground, and I don’t want this to happen to them. Any suggestions?
Note that I am linking all books on this blog through Powell’s instead of Amazon until I’m sure Amazon is no longer discriminating against LGBT authors. You can read more about their censorship here and here.