I love my daughter, my only daughter after four sons. When she was born, the horror stories about daughters seemed to come out of the woodwork everywhere I turned. "You're so lucky you have all those boys." "Daughters are so hard to raise." "Get ready for lots of whining!" "I'd take boys any day!" People with the best of intentions seemed to take great joy in warning me that I was really headed for difficulty and heartache with my daughter.
Mary has been in my life for 8 and 1/2 years now. It is true she does whine. She can be very loud. She's bossy to her brothers. Laziness shows in her messy bedroom and she requires many reminders to make her bed each day. But to be honest, I whine a lot too, I can be very loud at times(I'm sure my neighbors can attest to that!), I am quite bossy, always preferring to get my own way and although I always promptly make my bed upon arising, I am plenty lazy about other things, more important things. I can relate to Mary because after all, I am also somebody's daughter. I understand all those girl things. So far, although she really is a mix of good and bad behavior, I think those horror stories have been unwarranted.
Yet there are days when she makes me see red and those warning voices about daughters start to echo around my head. Just a few days ago, in fact, she was complaining about a stomach ache in a ploy to stay home from school. I didn't buy it. Sure enough, the phone call came mid-day. "I threw up. Can you come get me?" I should have asked to talk to the teacher or the school secretary for verification. I didn't. Off I went to my boss to tell her that Mary was sick and I had to go. I left my coworkers in a lurch and brought Mary home. She wasn't sick. Not at all. She just felt like playing hooky. Mary is now on dish duty this week and despite her heartfelt apologies, the punishment stands.
But, in spite of her occasional naughtiness, and honestly, boys can be quite naughty too, she makes me smile far more than she makes me angry. Yesterday, for example,
while at daily Mass, Mary asked to use the bathroom after the Prayer of the Faithful. In our church, the bathrooms are in the back of the church, not in some separate hallway or gathering area. The entire church was silent as the gifts were brought up and the altar was prepared. Then, a quiet voice could be heard, singing. The volume rose. Everyone in church could hear that sweet voice singing, but couldn't quite make out the words. Jack, who was sitting next to me, nudged me and we both struggled to control our giggles. When Mary walked out of the bathroom, Jack and I turned to her and we couldn't contain our smiles. She whispered "I'm so glad that you are smiling at me Mom! But why are you so happy!" I put a finger to my lips and pointed to the front of church to direct her attention to the Mass.
After Mass, as she and Jack walked to school, one of the elderly parishioners who was sitting near the bathroom stopped me. "Your daughter has a beautiful singing voice. What was that she was singing, The Our Father?" I told him that I wasn't quite sure because I couldn't make out the words but apparently, his mind was made up that The Our Father was the song he heard. "Well," he said, "you are blessed to have a holy angelic daughter who sings The Our Father in the bathroom."
That night at supper, I asked Mary what it was she was singing. "Oh," Mary replied, "It was 'Cause I'm a Woman, W-O-M-A-N." Angelic indeed!