It's been a long exhausting day of girliness.
The day kicked off with a tights drama, moved into a hair drama, continued with an brother-in-the-wrong-carseat drama, a who-sits-with-whom in the church pew drama. We hit midday with a birthday present drama, a right-clothes-for-the-party drama, another hair drama (extra dramatic this time), and then a riding-with-BFF-to-party drama.
Oooh Mommy, the party was so so so much fun!
Then we cruised into the late afternoon with a pleasepleaseplease-can-BFF-come-play drama, an I-hate-games-including-little-brothers-drama, and then a super-spectacular tiff-to-end-all-tiffs-with-BFF in which we simply could not stop the heaving sobs and the general noise of broken heartedness. Until we decided we could stop, and go downstairs to play with BFF and little brothers, and even baby sister, all participating in the group-coordinated theatrical presentation of Wedding at the Castle.
I'm exhausted. Are you?
The night Cecilie was born, the very moment the midwife announced 'it's a girl!', my first thought was are you sure? Because I don't know how to do girls! Then they handed this tiny mite of a thing to me, we locked eyes, and my second thought was holy beshmeezus. I am never going to survive thirteen.
Because here's the problem: I never got the Girl Manual.
You know the one, the one I know a lot of girls get, where they tell you about how to do french braids, when to give a friend a hug and when to tell her to 'stay cool', how to attract boys in nightclubs and how to choose great shoes. I am spectacularly ungifted in so many areas of Female Expertise.
I have especially missed having the Accessories Chapter. Oh, and Friendships. Some women just seem to navigate the complex territory of both topics effortlessly - just as they know when to wear dangly earrings, they know when to call and check in, how to rally their troops around them in time of crisis, and how to be unconditionally encouraging. For me, I always feel like the penny drops too late: too late I realize that a hug would have been well-placed, a phone call would have made all the difference, what a few carefully chosen chocolates might have meant.
(Let's be clear: I have a number of really amazing women friends, and as I mature I am only more and more aware of the richness these friendships bring to my life. I'm just saying I've managed this almost in spite of myself and my bumbling efforts.)
I'd always planned on raising a pack of boys. I know how to address hitting, lying, and poor hygiene. I feel I could even add something useful to the discussion of How to Talk to Girls. Heck, I'm just going to admit it: I am deeply grateful that I was given one boy child so that I could feel like an effective parent at least 33% of the time.
I bring this up only because I find myself increasingly flummoxed when it comes to helping my own girls learn to navigate this territory. I just feel so profoundly unqualified to help them figure out how to be women. Someday, probably someday soon, my girls will get together in their bedroom and agree - "Mom is just no good at this."
My theory right now is that I got girls because I needed to learn Girls. I have my chance for a do-over, to try to find The Manual, to try to find the map that will help my girls do this whole Life thing gracefully, happily, and with meaning. That is The Manual I want to find.
(If it has a chapter on Accessories, I might have to steal it.)