This afternoon I walked into the kitchen to empty the dishwasher. The dishwasher and I have what I would say is a love/ hate relationship. I love that I do not have to do the washing, but hate the task of unloading the thing. I don’t know why, I just find no joy in replacing the items within. But, in a sad catch 22, if I don’t unload, it will be me doing the next round of washing, which I dislike more. So unload I must. Ava, however, loves the dishwasher. From the time she could stand, the dishwasher has been her thing. So it was no shock that the moment I opened the dishwasher door, I had a little helper right by me, ready to get in on the action. Mommy’s doing it, it must be something interesting (yeah, right!). This time, however, she wanted to actually help! Instead of shooing her away, telling her not to touch or get annoyed that I was having to constantly step over her (which, sadly, is the norm), I let Ava help. Ava dove right in. She would pull out a glass and I, with lightening speed, be there to take it from her hand and put it in the cabinet. Remove, hand to Mommy, remove, hand to Mommy… we had a good rhythm going… as long as I was fast enough to rescue whatever glass item she had next. (I’m glad to report all breakables made it through safely!) She even got to put some things away herself. Standing on the counter top, my baby girl would put a bowl on the shelf, place a spatula in a drawer or put a pot lid in its proper place. All of this seemed to be so very exciting and Ava looked so proud of herself. It probably took me twice as long to do this task, but how I loved sharing it with my little girl. My heart swelled even more when, after dinner tonight, Ava took it upon her self to take the pot holders off the table and put them back in the drawer where they belong. We didn’t even have to tell her where they go… she just knew.
It’s because she’s been watching. I know she’s been watching… there is evidence of this everywhere. I see how she now turns her cheek up to Jeff for a kiss, just like me. I see her try to put the keys in the door. I see her rub her hands together when I’m putting on lotion, just mimicing the action. The other day, for some reason or another, Ava says “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Who knows what I had been doing that she felt needed to be slowed down, but in that moment, I heard my own voice being parroted back to me, abet in a bit more of a high pitch.
I love that Ava wants to be just like me. I love that she watches me put my make up on in the morning… I hope she thinks I’m pretty and I hope she still thinks so when she’s 14! I hope I can be someone that she can look up to and want to be like. I hope that when she has to write about her hero, I at least cross her mind. I want to be someone my daughter admires. And I know with most certainty that she is watching me now, filing away both the good and the bad.
I heard someone say today that if your teenager doesn’t hate you, you must be doing something wrong. That seems so backwards to me! I don’t expect to be best friends with my 15 year old Ava, but in my toddler mommy mindset, I’m still hoping for something better than sever dislike and disdain. For the moment, I’m going to relish in my little mini-me, the one who thinks I’m the greatest ever! And is my happy helper in unloading the dishwasher. Oh Lord, may she always find joy in that task!