Dancing Girls

Everything I believed at 25 and 35 and 45 has been turned upside down & twisted around. Nothing is as it seemed: not my marriage, not my family, not the mistaken belief that Mel Gibson was an attractive & reasonable man with an adorable sense of humor.

Last week at a freaking Jonas Brothers concert it happened again. WTF?

* * * * *

Immediately upon confirmation of the pregnancy resulting in my daughter, before I even knew she was a girl, I began shrieking “Oh my God, she’ll be huge & have an enormous head like your sons!“ (I am mortified by this reaction because it’s too much like my mother saying, “No, we can’t name her Tina because she’ll be fat and they’ll call her Tiny.“)

I was speaking to my husband in such a shrill panic-stricken voice because I’d suddenly visualized his two boys from a prior marriage. It occurred to me that they were born to a woman far more petite than I, yet still look like cousins to Moe & Curly of The Three Stooges. How could adding my oxen comparable DNA to the mix end in a more feminine result? Better yet, how did I not think of such a thing beforehand?

It’s how I am, histrionic & over-stated, catastrophic thinking after the fact. It’s a way to get what I want but dispose of the responsibility. I can’t make a decision to save my life, so I accidentally on purpose end up where I want to be. It’s a dangerous way to live. You don’t notice yourself edging toward the cliff until BOOM.

I was desperate for another child, 37 years old, and it had to be a girl. It had taken me a lifetime to determine I could do the mother/daughter relationship again. It didn’t feel like I had a choice. Hormones are big screaming loony bitches. Just say yes.

My son was 11 & fully entrenched as an only child. I was concerned about the possibility of having a child with Downs Syndrome. A sibling was already a step down from a pony or a four-wheeler; one who needed anything extra seemed way too unfair. I might not be able to drive my beloved prince the 3 blocks to school daily. So I went to a pre-natal specialist & did what was possible to make sure this would be

a convenient child.

They should have tested me instead. It’s comical that I believed a chromosomal difference would be more twisted or troublesome than what already exists in my family.

* * * * *

The infant we watched reach her little hand out in utero, as she tried to grab the needle during the amnio screening, turns 13 in two weeks. I took her to a Jonas Brothers concert last Monday and we sat with 5 of her friends.

She is different than her brother. She puts up with my quirks a little (maybe a lot) more than he did. In truth, though, I am trying to be less obnoxious, less funny at her expense, less loud, because I realize the consequences of being myself this time around. He beat my rough edges with a hammer.

Still there are similarities between them. There are also things I won’t stop doing. I can’t stop breathing just to please my children. I’ve tried. The end result:

“MOM, stop it, you’re turning blue! It’s embarrassing, get off the floor!”

There are times when Rachel wants my personality to disappear, like that of an Alzheimer’s patient or a victim of too many shocks in a psychiatric hospital. It happens most often when I (1) sing off-key and (2) laugh too loud or (3) get drunk & accidentally kiss a woman with a moustache good-bye on New Year’s Eve or (4) dance at a Jonas Brothers Concert. Her eyes begin to roll like marbles. The huffing & puffing sound like that of a veteran glue sniffer.

Last night was perfect, though. She ended up sitting in the next row down. I was between two other girls who were not the least bit embarrassed by my inappropriate joy & inexcusable happiness, since we share no DNA.

Even better yet were the two chicks in front of Rachel. Right from the start neither appeared at all self-conscious, something it took me 35 years to even approach. They were dancing with each other, bubbling over with excitement, never stopped smiling. They were totally my dream dates and of course both had Downs Syndrome.

This was not the first time the thought has occurred to me: “I am such a dickhead.” The paradox kicks my ass.

I’m not ridiculous enough to believe it’s all buttered biscuits & birthday cake. But there is a yin & yang factor and I cringe at my own ignorance.

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