I even practiced my mommy skills. I dutifully cared for my stuffed animals and barbies. I saw to their every need; I mended boo boos, bathed them (my mom was soooo less than thrilled at me washing my stuffed animals in the bathtub, then dripping water from the bathroom to my playroom, where I invariably seemed to leave the towels), fixed their hair/fur, fed them, read to them, did all the mommy things that needed to be done. I even doctored them. Growing up I had two uncles who were doctors and only too happy to send me care packages of doctorly things for me to play with. My barbies and animals all got very regular care. I performed all manor of medical procedures for them. Mr. Badger's recovery from his hysterectomy was a little touch and go, but he pulled through just fine.
In short, by the time I got around to being a mommy, I was already an expert.
Except that I didn't end up with my imaginary hypothetical children.
My first born was a boy. Despite the fact that I'd gone shopping for all manner of girl attire for him. I'd bought countless dresses and pink, frilly blankets, little pink shoes, and hair doohickeys. Then, of course, he turned out to be a he.
Next came my Hope. Huzzah, a girl! Only, I started to realize from a very early age that she wasn't like any little girl I'd ever met. She's 16 now, and I've spent the last 15 years trying to remind her that's she's a girl. This isn't at all how I imagined being a mother to a little girl was going to go. First off, she repels all attire that bears any semblance to anything girly. She likes playing in the mud. She likes playing football (and has a rather impressive spiral!) and camping and fishing. Admittedly she probably got those three from me, but that's not important. She wrestled. She wrestled rather well. I was actually fairly impressed with her wrestling. Until her wrestling career ended when her older brother broke her arm trying to wrestle her. She has short hair. No, no, she has short hair! And its once naturally beautiful blond has been dyed black. We met Julie Newmar at Comic Con a couple of years back and the lovely Ms. Newmar complimented Hope on her beautiful blond locks. I died a little bit. I love Julie Newmar. Julie Newmar didn't comment on my hair. Anyway, she dyed that lovely blond to black. My imaginary child would have left the Julie Newmar complimented hair the fuck alone!
This isn't exactly the girl child I had imagined. So, reality and the imagined expectation of reality aren't quite the same. Shocking, right?
But, she's strong. The kind of strength that must have been apparent when you met Rosa Parks or Joan of Arc. She's so beautiful. She's smart and quick witted. She loves books and has an appreciation for all things musical and dramatic. She wants to be an orthopedic surgeon. She's ever so sassy. She's good and compassionate and caring and empathetic.
These are things I definitely imagined my child would be. I guess I can live with not being able to put her in a dress, in exchange for her being able to put to shame any boy with her throwing arm.
Next came another boy. I was prepared for it this time. I knew better than to even allow myself to believe I'd be the mother of two girls. I'm pretty fond of this guy, too, so it worked out pretty well.
My last, my baby girl, was not at all what I was expecting. For starters, I was entirely convinced she would be a boy. I was so convinced she was going to be a boy that I made a bet of sorts with my then husband. We made a deal that if she was a boy that I'd get to name her, but if she was a she, he'd get to name her. I am no longer a betting person...
My Rosebud is something else. She's scary mean when she's mad. No, ha ha, she's really scary! We're ALL pretty scared of her when she's mad. She can whoop the snot out of my 16 year old, and she's only 11, and the 16 year old has about 50 pounds on her. She's teeny tiny and has fists of fury. She reminds me of Taz when she gets all worked up. She doesn't like scarey movies. She's probably the single messiest person in the house. She has to be constantly reminded to brush her hair. Like, multiple times a day. She wants to be an actress when she grows up. She's a bit of a hard core people pleaser. Abignation hard core (if you get that, I love you).
However, my Rosebud is everything girly. She's girly enough for both of my daughters. She's girly enough for 10 average girls. At least 10. In fact, she's so girly that she actually might out girl me. And that's really saying something. My room looks like it belongs to a 12 year old girl. Or Anne Shirley. I actually have an Anne Shirley doll in my room. She's one of my most prized possessions and I love her. She sits on my dresser next to an old fashioned looking (girly) bear. She keeps Anne company.
Sorry, I digress.
She's pretty damned girly. If there was an award for being girly, she'd probably win it. She loves pink. And purple. And nail polish and perfume and makeup and accessories and dresses. She's also caring and compassionate and she's a helper. She's gorgeous. She loves to read and dance and sing and act. She's as sharp as a tack. She likes to do girly activities and she can be dainty. She's very polite and sweet and can be quiet and demure.
I say "can be" because she's not always, she is part me, after all.
So I didn't exactly get the children I had imagined all those years ago, I still think I won the offspring jackpot. I've seen/met some other people's kids, I could've done soooooo much worse!