I have a daughter. At least I think I do.
My beautiful city-daughter came home this weekend to see her poor country-dwelling mom. Kitten, as I have called her for many years, needed her Mommy for a while and so she put her busy social life on hold.
My soon to be twenty-year-old little girl is beautiful. Stunning even. And I'm not just saying that because I'm her mom either. I know how some moms are. They gave birth to off spring so incredibly ugly that the dog wouldn't even play with them unless they tied a steak around their little necks. But because they see them with mom-filtered eyes, they are completely oblivious to their basic unattractiveness. I'm not that kind of mom. My kids are truly the most beautiful kids on the planet. Ask anybody.
Kitten is a tiny little thing with long dark hair and big hazel eyes with lashes so long you can feel the breeze they create when she's talking to you. She might be an inch or two over five feet, but only if she stands up extra straight... which she never does. Not only is she small in stature, she's small all over and weighs all of about forty-three ounces. That is if you weigh her right after she eats.
I'm not just a kidding. She's little.
I used to be Kitten-little. Sadly, that ship has sailed. Now I'm just thanking God for every day I wake up without vericose veins and a woman beard.
My daughter is nothing like me. It's no secret. She knows it, too. In fact, sometimes I think she's secretly hoping that someday soon a beautiful short woman from New York City will show up at our door and shout the glad news that our babies were switched at birth. She'll take Kitten to live with her in her giant snooty mansion and in her place, she'll leave me with a dim-witted, pork-n-beans eating, blue-eye shadow wearing girl whose job it is to spit shine the gas tanks at her local truck stop.
We're so different, my daughter and I, that I might seriously worry Kitten was indeed switched at birth, were it not for the fact that she is the genetic clone of my Mother. It's just spooky. They both have a certain quality that is hard to define. One thing's for sure though. Whatever it is, it skipped a generation.
My Mother and my daughter both appreciate the sparklier things in life and try to stay away from all things plain and inexpensive. Neither of them could ever imagine leaving the house in sweats for example. Unless of course the sweats were covered in rhinestones and glitter and cost approximately eight-hundred dollars.
And there are more similarities between my daughter and my Mother. And more ways I am the odd man out.
I budget. It's what I do. They hate to use the word budget in mixed company.
I shop in places where everything costs a dollar and even then, I feel guilty about it. They shop in places where the saleslady has to whisper the price softly in your ear, so as not to cheapen their quality merchandise with a vulgar price tag.
I buy bread at a discount, day old bread store. They think discount bread stores are nothing more than places you buy snacks to feed homeless ducks.
I shop at garage sales. They shop for new cars to go in garages.
I drive an economy car that is three years old and gets great gas mileage. They pick out cars because they look good in them and then they agonize over what to name them. (Yes... they name their cars. Kitten used to drive "the bullet" and Mother drove "the bird".)
I am always proud to tell my friends that I only paid a quarter for my new purse at a garage sale. They buy purses that cost more than my car payment, my grocery bill and my last divorce combined and then can't wait to tell everyone "This old thing? It only cost one gatrillion dollars. I'm probably going to throw it away when I get home."
You see what I mean? Something happened in the crazy mixed up world of reproduction and somehow my little girl was born the exact duplicate of my Mother. I don't know how. I don't know why. But, there is one thing I do know.
If I ever see a chubby, slow girl spitting on a gas pump, I'm taking her home.
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Copyright © 2004, Sherri Bailey
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