Fridays have become synonymous as mother and daughter days in our house. I have the beginning and end of each week off work, and more often than not, the beginning of the week starts with all of the obligatory chores that need to be done to keep everything ‘ticking over’ nicely. As the week draws to an end (along with my energy) I tend to let things sort themselves out. There is no plan, the day just happens the way it happens.
I can tell Isla looks forward to spending the day with me and I am finding more and more as she gets older that I look forward to spending quality time with her too. I think it is really sweet how she chatters away in the back of the car to me, telling me about this or that and asking me very random questions as a I attempt to concentrate on driving, like – ‘Mum, does bean rhyme with cream?’ – ‘Urm, yes darling it does’.
When I look at my little girl many things spring to mind. Usually I hear her before I see her in the mornings singing a little song and smiling her big wide smile. Sometimes she is grumpy and hides her head back under the covers just like her daddy does when I go in to wake her. I think she is more like her daddy than she will ever know.
And yet it is a rarity that we get some real quality time together, usually because there are so many other things going on. Just recently we have been able to wave off her brother as he goes to his football training on a Friday evening as we run a warm bath and hop into our jammies. We snuggle up on the sofa to watch a movie because it is what we like to do when no-one else is around. The choice of movie is invariably Disney and one particular evening she chose Disney’s Brave. Brave is the story of a Scottish Princess with wild curly hair, who clashes with her mother as she refuses to conform to the way she is supposed to be. As we watch the movie her little eyes get brighter and brighter and I know why (other than the fact she turns her mother into a bear).
Isla Mary is a free spirit.
She knows very much what she likes and what she does not like. She has always watched the other Disney Princess films, and although she likes the adventures, her favourite characters are often the best friends or the animals who have a bit more about them. There have been countless incidents of her pulling faces at people she doesn’t like the look of, or point blank refusing to use her manners when we are out and about, or singing at the top of her voice (much to my teenage niece’s embarrassment) in fact, there are more incidents than I would care to mention.
The truth is though, that I admire all this about her (not the rudeness, obviously) but the single mindedness and the spirit. She may be small, but she is truly fearless and she often lets me know that as she insists on doing everything herself. ‘Mummy, I can do it mine own self’ is a remark that I hear numerous times a day as I attempt to help her. And you know what? she can do it herself, and if she can’t she teaches herself to much to my amazement as I am reminded that I should not ever underestimate her.
Some days I honestly find myself wondering how I am ever going to guide this young lady into adulthood. Some days I wish I could ask other mums what they would do, because I am sure that I don’t always react in the way that I should do in order to get the best out of her. The thing is that I know that I am the person that she aspires to be – that in itself is quite some burden, as I don’t always know what to do in a given situation. Sometimes when she hurts herself, but doesn’t want others to know that she is hurt, she runs and hides so that nobody can see her tears. Sometimes she puts her two middle fingers in her mouth when she is unsure and uncertain about something (I used to suck my thumb too), and I can almost read her eyes as she weighs up a situation.
I truly hope that we don’t clash too much as she gets older, but it is inevitable I think. For now though I have decided to spend as much time as I possibly can with her. I hug her when she is sad or angry, I scold her when she is rude and I explain to her why we use manners wherever I can. Only this morning she broke her Frozen locket that is very similar to my own necklace and she was heartbroken. Of course we can mend the chain, and she will be happy that she has something once again that is just like her best friend’s.
The thing about Isla Mary is, well, that she is just like me…