If you’re a female, you know the curse I’m talking about. The one your mother uttered in the midst of one of your teenage, tear-stained, incoherent outbursts. The one where she squinted her eyes, pursed her lips and, with hands on hips, said, “Someday, I hope you have a daughter exactly like you.”
I was 14 when my mother bestowed the maternal curse on me. At the time, I’d sworn off having children. The very thought of wiping snotty noses and even ickier bottoms was gnarly, dude. Like, ohmigod, I was SO going to be a Bolshoi ballerina, despite never having taken a ballet class. (They’d recognize my natural talent, I was certain.) Or maybe a TV foreign reporter covering exotic locales for the 5 o’clock news which would be early enough that I’d still have time to sit in wood-paneled bars chain-smoking Galoises and sipping absinthe cocktails. (The notion of time zones eluded me.) Or even… wait for it… the first female President of the United States.
Yes, I was going to live a glamorous, child-free life clad in designer duds I’d ferry from one 4-star hotel to another. What did I care about having a daughter just like me. Flash forward a mere decade and, sure enough, my first child was a girl. Speed the life tape up another decade and, sure enough, my daughter is just like me.
Which means, of course, that she’s got a smart-ass comeback to just about any situation. Her verbal judo is a force to be reckoned with. I know this because my self-esteem and sanity barely survived her teens. Then again, for the same reasons, she barely survived them herself.
Now that she’s almost 20 years old we’ve finally made peace. Her company is actually a comfort to me, and I am constantly awed by what a wonderful person she’s turned out to be. (As long as I don’t read her Facebook page.) In fact, we’re close enough that I can joke with her about how my mother drives me nuts these days, and she’s thanked me on more than one occasion for being nothing like my own mother. Considering how hard I work at that, it meant a lot to me that she noticed.
With that said, I do sometimes miss her histrionic outbursts. Oh, not the ones that were directed at me, mind you, but some of them were so pointed, so burn-and-salt lethal, that I used to wonder where the hell she got that kind of venom. Then, of course, I’d pass by a mirror and totally get it.
From what I read over at Techcrunch today, I might be able to put my daughter’s skills to good use. See, apparently Gmail now allows users to delegate responsibility for replying to email to other Gmail users.
So that next bitchy letter from my mother railing about how I don’t visit often enough, how I don’t call, how I should smoke/drink/weigh/work/expect less? Yeah, I am SO letting my kid answer it while pretending she’s me.