Are you f-ing kidding me?
There we stood--amidst the musty aroma and faded memories of days-gone-by. "I wanna try that on!" she screamed; her finger punching the open air. I carefully reached past several pair of lace gloves and handed her the veil. "Mommy... I want it," she informed. "Uh... it's a little over your budget," I argued. "How many dollars?" she asked, as if she could comprehend the additional math. "Eighty-nine!" "Hmmmm..." she questioned, "How much is THAT one?" Despite her strong negotiation skills, we left that day with a pink floral apron and matching bag.
My daughter is four, but mature beyond her years. When she was born, I told my mom she was an old soul... I could see it in her eyes and she's yet to prove me wrong. Lately, however, she's been asking some pretty direct questions that leave me wishing I had an extra bottle of vodka in the freezer. Below is a recent conversation, between a four-year-old girl and an unsuspecting mother:
"Does wine make you have a baby?" (uhhh... it can) <laughs> (no, mommy was kidding... wine does not make you have a baby. why?) "When I get older, can I have a baby in my tummy?" (Much, MUCH older. When you're married and old like me!) "THEN I can have a baby in my tummy?" (Yes, if that's something you want, but that's a long, long time away. Can we talk about something else now?) "But I want a daughter." (well, when you get older, you can worry about that. For now, lets just stick to your dolls) "Okay, but I really want a daughter, not a doll."
A week later, we picked up a faux wedding ring while waiting in line at Borders (I had vetoed the $30 bridal book she had found earlier). She placed it on her left ring finger and held it out as she stared at it in awe. "It's beautiful, mommy... I LOVE it!" As she steered her car/cart at the grocery store, I watched as she held out her hand to each passerby in the aisle. They'd look at me, smile and say, "Wow... what a GORGEOUS diamond!" ...And, just like any new bride-to-be, she gushed and nodded in agreement.
Though I laugh at the notion of a toddler pretending to be a bride, I shutter to think of what she'll really be like when that day actually does arrive. Will she rush to the alter because all of her friends are getting married? Will she marry the first loser that asks, even though she knows he's not the one? Or, will she wait until she's emotionally and mentally prepared for what lies ahead? I can only hope that she continues to choose wisely and learn from each mistake and/or experience. I wish I could be there every second of every day... to hold her hand, hold her heart, and guide her down each path with a careful eye and gentle words of wisdom. I wish I could be there to reroute her pain or push her out of harms way when life decides it's time to pull a fast one, but the chances of me being with her every time she is confronted with an important decision is slim to none... besides, what the hell kind of parent would I be if I didn't let her live a little?