Several years ago, I would write posts about conversations I had with my daughter, Ellie, when she was younger. Some of them are hilarious, like when she thought I was actually having breakfast with Michael Buble and when she told me women could be anything they wanted, just not priests. I’ve provided some links to those conversations at the bottom of this post. She’s always had a pretty funny sense of humor and a good wit. She’s also incredibly strong-willed, and has been since the day I gave birth to her, a horror story in itself, because she was a stubborn little thing who didn’t want to pop out and see the world. Which is sort of ironic, because she’s always been a little impatient. Nevertheless, it was a grueling labor that landed me back in the hospital two days later.
Since she’s grown up and is now SWEET 16, she doesn’t want me writing about her on this blog. (She and my husband both have the same mentality rule of “don’t put it on the blog.”) And for the most part, I obey them. After all, I’m a fiction writer and not a nonfiction writer, and that means we tend to hide the truth in the fiction we write.
But I transgress…
Yesterday, I was reminded of a story that I haven’t told here “on the blog,” and I really don’t care if she’s upset that I’m writing about it because it is SO FUNNY and is SO HER. Her independent spirit has been something we have dealt with since she was little. My mother recalls Ellie coming over to the house to help set up the Christmas decorations when she was three or four, and my mother offered to help her with setting out some of the items around the house. As my mother offered to help, Ellie pushed her hand away and said, “No, Nanny. I do it.”
We laugh at that, because she’s still the same. Independent as ever.
When someone was telling me about her niece crying on Santa’s lap yesterday, I had to giggle, and it reminded me of my own TWO stories about Ellie and Santa when she was three. Except Ellie wasn’t crying because she was ON Santa’s lap; she was crying because she COULDN’T GET ON Santa’s lap fast enough, and tried to cut into the massive line that had formed in Columbia Mall. When I apologized to the families she was trying to get ahead of, I explained to her that we had to wait in line for our turn, and she cried because she wanted to see him right then and there.
She is not about waiting.
I had to tell my daughter that the world doesn’t revolve around her, and that she must wait in line like all the other kids.
She didn’t much like that.
When we took her to Midnight Madness in Ellicott City one year and there was a Santa in one of the storefront windows and the line was forming out the door, she just ran up to the front, once again, to try to butt into the line. Again, I had to tell her that we must be patient and wait in line for our turn to see Santa.
As we inched our way closer to the elves and Santa’s chair, she turned to me and said, “My turn,” as we waited for the elves to allow us to move forward. Again, we waited a moment until the child before her was done.
When it was her turn, she marched right up there, hopped up on Santa’s lap, and she didn’t want to leave. She was quite happy and content hanging out with Santa.
She was not afraid. She was never afraid of Santa.
And while she may have been an impatient child, Ellie has a heart of gold. A big, beautiful heart of gold. She would bring her grandmother gifts of things she would find around the house and wrap them up as presents when she was little. She sobbed at the end of Phantom of the Opera because her heart hurt for the Phantom. She still hugs me as a teenager when she sees me.
As for Santa, she just genuinely loved him, and she knew he stood for giving and all that was good in the world.
Other Conversations with My Daughter