I always thought I would have two boys. It never crossed my mind what having a little girl would be like. I pictured myself playing trucks with my “boys” and throwing a football around in the back yard. Little boy shoes were the cutest thing to me and I had a fascination with decorating boys bed rooms.
But then the day came, where I was pregnant with my second child. It wasn’t the same feeling as when I carried my first child, my son Cobi. I felt girly and bubbly. Ya, I’m just not the kind of girl to express that side of myself very often. But here I was, excited to shop for maternity clothes and fix my hair and make things in my home look pretty. I knew it the day it was confirmed that I was pregnant, I knew I was carrying a girl.
This was new territory for me. Was I ready for raising a chatty, frilly, let’s play “tea party” type of girl? Fixing hair and playing dress-up? Well, I thought to myself, I better be.
My daughter, Piper, was born on the Leap Year day, February 29th, 2004. I swore I was NOT having this child on that day! But sure enough, that is when she decided to be born. She was beautiful. She had a sweetness, and gentleness about her. It certainly didn’t take long for me to melt into that precious face and become the girly mommy she may need me to be. I was ready… Bring it on!
As time went on, and she grew into a toddler, she was busier than I ever imagined she’d be. It was nonstop chatter, nonstop movement, and nonstop attitude. She was feisty, and I loved it. She wasn’t as “girly” as I dreaded she would be, but every now and again she would frilly herself up and play the typical girl role. And I was totally okay with that.
I guess I was sort of relieved that she didn’t turn out to be the princess I thought most little girls were. She had a rough and tumbling side to her personality, yet she could clean up and be the sweet princess-like girl, same as the rest of them. She was cute as a button and I could squeeze her to death with all of my love.
Our mother-daughter relationship is quite different from my relationship with my son. Thank goodness for that. I love how special my time is with each of them. And of course, they couldn’t be more opposite if they tried. But now, after all these years (my daughter 14 years old and my son is 19 years old), I look back at it all and I am so grateful that I was able to experience both worlds as a parent.
So this bond with my daughter, it was a learning experience for me. I had a brother growing up so I had no idea what it was like to have another girl around (other than my mother, but that was different, somehow). Many of my friends, growing up had sisters and I admired their relationships and closeness. Having a brother is different. He would aggravate me, I would retaliate, then a fight would break out. That was about the extent of the relationship (well, a few laughs in between, of course).
So I wanted to create a closeness with my daughter, our own time together that she could remember back upon and smile. I didn’t want her to look back and just see me as the “mom”. I’d rather be the cool mom, or hip mom. You know, the kind of mom who likes all the modern music, the mom who’s into the trendy stuff. I want her to see me as more than just a mom. Perhaps a bit like the sister she isn’t going to have.
That is when it began. The start of our mother-daughter tradition. That day when Piper found my makeup. Yes, I do have a makeup kit but it is hardly ever cracked open. So there she was, standing in front of me, asking, “Mom, what’s this? Is this all your makeup?” Yes, I replied and that was the beginning of our modelling shoots together.
I dolled her up. She loved the lip gloss, of course. What girl doesn’t. Even I love lip gloss, and I am more your Tomboy type of girl. I decorated her face with eye shadow, blush and lip stick. I fixed her hair all pretty and we decided on, what Piper thought, was her favourite, prettiest dress to wear.
I prepped my camera and away we went. I must have taken a good 75 photos of her, that day. Seriously. And she hammed it up, too. She worked the camera like a pro. I am smiling just remembering back to that day. If only I could relive it, how awesome would that be?
But I do have these 75 photos to rekindle those memories. I look at them today and think to myself, “She’s even more beautiful than I remembered her being”.
This wasn’t the only time we did this… remember, I said tradition. We did this often. It was “our” thing to share with each other. Best of all, the photos will always be with us.
Now that she is a teenager, the way in which we go about these modelling sessions has changed. With iPads and apps, the modern world has developed and we went right along with it.
Snap Chat became our new thing, and we would record videos of ourselves being silly together. We laughed so hard, we literally peed our pants a few times. Yep, I am not kidding.
I asked my daughter, the other day, while I was going through all of those hundreds of photos and videos, of what she remembers and feels about our modelling sessions together. She sat down beside me and started going through all the photos with me. She started to laugh. She remembered quite a few of the details around those photo shoots. She recalled things I didn’t even remember. She leaned over, gave me a kiss on the cheek and said, “Thank you Mom.” I asked her, “What for?” And she responded, “For all those times together. I really loved it.”
So, of course, I got all choked up and started to cry. So, she laughed at me….
What is interesting, is not only was the memory of our photo shoots something to cherish, but we were able to share more bonding moments years later looking upon those photos and reminiscing those times. And we will always have that to share.
Those photo shoots brought my daughter and I together closer than I believe if we hadn’t have taken that time together. We were silly together, and we had some wonderful heart to heart moments. Honestly, from my little girls point of view, taking the time to give 100% focus to my daughter, making the moment be all about her, her beauty, her style, her personality… to be free as she is and all that she loves being was a powerful experience for her. I helped make her feel special and precious. She was empowered by the openness to be completely expressive and to shine. She received positive attention, uplifting and free. It built confidence in my daughter and showed her that she can be all that she is, no reservations, with me and with anyone.
Truthfully, at the time, I wasn’t aware of ALL that it did for my daughter. I just thought I would be the cool, hip mama that my kid would wanna hang around with, kind of like having a mom and a big sister in one. I didn’t realize the powerful impact it had on her.
Sometimes we get so engrossed in “Parenting” our children that we often forget to just “Be” with our children. Sharing something unique and special, individually, with each of your children is so incredibly beneficial for not only the child, but for yourself. Help to build those lasting bonds with your children from an early age, and continue with it as they grow. Children learn so much better by experience. So instead of just telling your children how wonderful they are, show them. Be with them, share with them, empower them.
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