The other day was “Daughter’s Day”( Hashtag)and the Internet, Instagram, in particular, was full of mother-daughter father/ daughter photos in soft focus. Never knew there was a Daughter’s Day but I’ll embrace it- though probably without any photos as my two daughters shy away from posed family portraits and yell, ” Do Not Tag Us.” I respect their privacy – though they’re active on Facebook and therefore gave up all rights to privacy years ago. I wonder how folk like India Hicks, Reese Witherspoon and others who have kids the same age as mine persuade their teenagers to feature their photos on their blogs/social media. India and Reese’s persuasive powers are better than mine no doubt.
So there’ll be no photos just generic stuff from unsplash – unless I’m sneaky.
On a recent birthday, my older daughter wrote: “Thank you for forcing me read, singing old country bumpkin songs at night and just been a chilly mcchillychill but also a pressuremcpressurepressure. Get up u late”… which got me thinking, “What have my daughters’ given to me?”
They’ve taught me about their culture. Gen Z 101. Admittedly a superficial knowledge, but something. Thank you, girls, for making me watch Broad City. I appreciate you showing me Ru Paul and I’m trying very hard to love the show but am not there yet. For finding me music to listen to that’s outside my normal listening range, yes Kanye West is okay. For showing me your favourite Instagrammers and Podcasts.
As women of colour, they challenge my ideas and assumptions. They’ve encouraged me to relook at my own ideas on race, made me feel uncomfortable and sometimes angry, and the realisation that I’m not quite as ‘liberal’ as I thought and that I need to redefine my ideas a bit. Parents spend years telling their kids, no. So it can be a shock that when your daughters disagree and say it so resolutely, eloquently and bravely that you sit back in wonder and think, Wow she’s great!
They are my saviours when it comes to technology. I barely know how to turn a computer on. So it’s good luck for me that I have one child who could give me a crash course in Indesign, which I needed for a university assignment. I’ve been shown how by Daughter 2 to find something called a torrent and what to do with it! They display the wonderful characteristic of their generation; of working out how to do something on a computer without resorting to a manual, just clicking around and not being afraid.
And they’ve taught me about love. As they grow older and independent and more resourceful we know that they don’t need us as much. So the hugs, when they come are all the sweeter, our conversations take on a different tone, less mother and daughter, but more meaningful and articulate and sometimes very funny. And the time we spend together is less, but in a way more memorable. Recently when our little dog died, the girls and I spent 4 hours digging a grave for her. We hardly spoke in that period, we shared the digging, the burial, and the awfulness. We made each other cups of tea. We hugged each other and sat by Bronte’s little lifeless body. It was probably the worst and the best thing we’ve ever done together.
Thanks, daughters. (no tagging) And a sneaky photo thrown in for good measure. Love you both.