Just Write: From Mars

July 3, 2012

I’ll never forget the time, the first year into our marriage, my husband said, “God, you know what I  love about you? You’re such an optimist.”

Oooookay, those words are concrete proof that love is definitely blind.

I can’t even remember what we were talking about that day, although I’m betting it had something to do with him, because when it comes to my husband, this shrunken-hearted pessimist really does believe that he can do anything.

And he can. Sometimes I resent him for it, because he was one of those kids in school who was good at everything. You know those kids, right? The ones who excel at all subjects and never stress over any kind of test, and breeze through the SAT like it’s a 4th of July parade?

I always wanted to freaking throttle kids like that.

And yet I married one.  I’ll forgive him his scholarly perfection only because it took a few years for him to master the “socially adept” part of the equation. But then he got it, and he got it down pat. He can talk to a fire hydrant, I swear.

Still, deep in his heart, he has doubts. God Forbid if that man ever makes a mistake, because he flails himself for it harder than any human I know.  I whip myself for my blunders, too, but I screw up on such a regular basis that I’m used to it now. The cut isn’t so deep when the scar is already there, you know?

And then there’s the issue of our first-born, Miss D.  My husband and I have no idea what planet that girl is from. We’re pretty sure it’s a benevolent planet, but still. That child came out of the womb thinking that she was The Bomb, and her opinion hasn’t changed in 10 years, despite numerous clashes with assholery and failure.

As a relatively non-resilient person, her spirit and tenacity both move me and bewilder me at the same time. I’ve read plenty of books about resilience, and how to foster it in our kids, but to be honest, I don’t really think hubs and I have done jack as far as D. is concerned. She’s just wired that way.  She came out fighting, and she’s staying in the ring.

Now this isn’t to say that she’s not sensitive, because she is. She cries violently with each failure, but then, before the Kleenex isn’t even dry, she’s back out there, sword in hand. I stand there, stuck with the still-wet Kleenex in my hand, awestruck by her ability to shake it off.

I don’t shake.

On the rare occasions when my husband messes up, he doesn’t shake, either. We’re kinda wallowers, when it comes to hardship and failure. It’s embarrassing and it sucks, but it’s the truth.

Twice within the last few weeks, Miss D. has shown tremendous spirit. Unhindered by being the only girl on her flag football team, she stepped up and caught three hard passes, even though it ultimately ended in defeat. She also joined a swimming club–a club where kids have been on formal swim teams for years–and although she knows her skills aren’t up to level, she’s pushing on, without angst.

As the bona-fide Poster Child for Angst, I’m floored by how able she is to nurture her own spirit.

In the past (okay, still), I have worried about Miss M. It’s hard to be the sister of a veritable hurricane.  M. is softer, more tentative.  She hangs back a little, eyes narrowed, assessing a situation before she commits. And sometimes she doesn’t commit, preferring the comfort of my lap, and that’s fine by me.  It’s a personality that I relate to, and D. would rather have a hemorrhoid than snuggle, so I try to just sit back and enjoy.

But I worry. Will M. endure the schoolyard cruelty that I did? Will she keep her mouth shut when others do or say despicable things to her? Will she somehow decide she deserves that kind of treatment?

Perhaps Mommy needs a new pastime besides worrying. This past week, M. jumped off the (really) high dive at the swimming pool, into her sister’s waiting arms.

“You did it!,” D cried, towing her sister back to the edge of the pool.

“You’re so brave, baby,” I said, when she had to recount every detail, over and over.

“I know!” she crowed, big eyes pink from the pool. “I’m the bravest girl in the world.”

And at that moment, she was.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer July 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I love a fighter. Grit, that’s what our girls have. Grit.


TKW July 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm


We need it. Because life hands it to us, eh?


Phoo-d July 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I can’t believe how big (and beautiful) Miss M is getting! I would be super proud of her too for conquering the high dive. My childhood memories of that first attempt involve a very wicked belly ache from flopping stomach first!


TKW July 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm


I can’t tell you how many times I did that! Yeeooow!

M. *is* getting tall and big. And toothless. Which would make her even more terrifying when she walks into your guest bedroom and stands there, staring at you, wheezing like Darth Vader. Miss you.


Biz July 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I loved every word of this post KW! I know your daughters will enjoy reading it when they get older. Hope you and your family have a wonderful 4th! Hugs!


TKW July 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm


4th will be a bit sad here, as the state is on fire and there’s a ban on fireworks. Miss D. heard the news last night and ran to her room and cried. But it’s okay, I have a backup plan. Water balloon war, here we come! Hope yours is great as well!


suzicate July 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Awe, such a sweet post! I love it! Even though I am the mother of boys (now young men) I still relate. My kids are quite different as well….they both turned out fine. They like some of the same things yet they approach life very differently. The older is more in your face, a go getter while the younger is funny but more traditional…still they both have a serious side as well as their humorous….gee, it’s mind boggling at times, ya know?


idiosyncratic eye July 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm

She’s definitely the bravest girl in the world. :)


Erica@PLRH July 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Ah, to have the gumption of Miss D!

And I love those eyes behind the pink sunglasses.


TKW July 4, 2012 at 6:34 am


Aren’t those sunglasses a hoot?


Robin July 3, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Your girls are so beautiful! It is so amazing how children can be so different, even if we are raising them together – same parents, same home, same everything else. I truly believe they are born with their own personalities. We might help shape and guide them, but essentially, they are their own person from a very young age.

I have one of each – an independent, high-spirited child who adapts to every situation (I’m 12. I am ready for my own place) – and a quiet, sensitive child who hated change (I’m never moving away from home). They both dealt with bullying – it was a little harder for my sensitive child. However, they both knew they were valued and they never thought they deserved it. We taught them how to treat other people; the value of trust, respect, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, equality and fairness (you get it). They both stood up for themselves in their own way (and they stood up for others, too) – they found their own strengths. I was amazed by how brave they could be. Part of it came with maturity. They both grew up to be great adults. They are both independent, strong, and still very different in how they approach things.

I only ramble on like that because I think it’s okay to worry a little. It’s what we moms do. If you look up worry in the dictionary, you can find my picture :)


TKW July 4, 2012 at 6:35 am


I think my picture would be right there beside yours. :)


Dawn July 4, 2012 at 4:30 am

Don’t worry mom…each of them is strong in their own way and both of them will grow up loved and happy because of you and your husband. That’s all that counts in the end.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes July 4, 2012 at 4:39 am

Oh my you have beautifull daughters!
There are many types of brave, but diving of the high board is one the highest.


TKW July 4, 2012 at 6:36 am


I’m still scared of that thing–ah, the bravery of the young!


Tina July 4, 2012 at 7:28 am

Brave girls rock…I’m hoping she’ll still be shouting outloud when she’s 40 that she is indeed, STILL the bravest girl in the world. The mere fact that she’s rockin’ those pink glasses tells me she will be!
Could she be more adorable?
Good work, mom.


TKW July 4, 2012 at 8:29 am


I hope so, too. My inner voice always says, “You’re a dork.” I much prefer Brave.


Arnebya July 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Of course I thought back to your high-dive post — Miss M rocks for her bravery and Miss D for supporting her. I don’t think we’ll ever stop worrying about them, about the maybes, the possibilities.


TKW July 5, 2012 at 7:56 am


When I was Miss M.’s age, it was the LOW dive that I was afraid to go off of. Me be a big old chicken!


Jamie July 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I have one identical twin sister and four other older sisters–my mom’s ability to see us all as individuals and compliment our strengths was a saving grace for our crazy family! You totally have that ability with your girls :) Way to go!


Tiffany July 18, 2012 at 4:09 am

I am going to borrow some of this “I am awesome”ness from both of your girls. Lovely. I hope they never lose it.


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