Mia: Shaken Not Stirred
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Friday, November 14, 2008Her Guide
He taught her how to build and fly kites, how to throw a football, dunk a shot, and how to sew. He taught her carpentry by building her a doll house as tall as a five year old and filled it with handmade dolls and furniture they’d made together. He helped her build her own soap box derby car and cheered her on every weekend as she raced against the neighborhood kids past the Park Slope Armory on 8th ave and 14 th street.
With great difficulty he learned how to plait her thick waist length curls although they were never quite up to snuff. He learned how to properly host dress up tea parties for her and her friends. He instinctively knew when she needed to rough house and when she needed to just cuddle in his lap and cry because her mommy had missed yet another scheduled visit.
When the time came he taught her about the joys of Midol and hot water bottles. He took her training bra shopping blushing the entire time as he stood in the background as the Macy's clerk helped her pick out she needed. When the first pimple reared its ugly head on her face he taught her how to take care of her skin. He taught her about the birds and the bees, and the rules of dating. He taught to value herself and never allow a man to disrespect her in body nor spirit. He taught her how to walk in heels (don’t ask), how to sit like a lady, and that when she wore slacks her socks had to match her blouse. He taught her how to shave her legs, paint her nails, and even though he didn’t approve taught her the proper way to apply make- up so she didn’t look like Alice Cooper.
I walked in yesterday and my mother was on the phone her lips were pressed together making her dimples and the slight cleft in her chin more prominent, her eyes were closed, her nose was scrunched up and she was pinching the bridge of her nose. She was struggling not to laugh.When she hung up the phone she laughed until she was gasping for breath wiping tears from her eyes.
“Oh man these awkward conversations with my dad never end.” She said
“What happened ma?”
“Your grandfather read an article on menopause and pre-menopausal women and realized that I’m at the pre-menopausal stage so he called me up and was explaining the change of life to me and telling me what I need to do now to make sure I went through it smoothly.”
“You heard me Mia, my father just spent 45 minutes from his hospital bed getting me ready for menopause.” She said placing her hand over her heart. “ and still he wonders why I send him a mother’s day card every year. I love that man.”
I imagine that being given the task of raising an infant alone at the age of 18 must have been hard for him. I imagine that it wasn't easy for him having to guide his little girl through the female rites of passage on his own. I imagine that despite the passage of time relinquishing his role as her guide through the important milestones must be hard. I think it’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever witnessed.
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