who am I?
When I asked my grandma to tell me something I didn’t know about myself, she said “Well, you were always a very challenging kid.” I was confused, because I had always been told I was a great baby, the type that hardly cries and all that jazz. “No,” she explained “you were always a good baby in that sense. You just always had to challenge your mother. You were too smart for your own good.” Naturally, I was confused, and made her tell me a few stories so I could understand what she meant.
See, my mother was a single mother when she had me at eighteen; and she was relieved when I turned out to be a happy-go-lucky baby who preferred to entertain myself and hardly fussed. But, as it was explained to me, that I was hard to control as soon as I became mobile. For instance, my mom had put me down for a nap one day when I was about eleven months old, thinking I was asleep. She went back out to the main room to continue cleaning and finishing other odd chores. Then, she turned around and nearly peed herself as she saw me sitting there on the floor playing with some little toy. She decided to rock me back to sleep, put me down again, but this time stand by the door-way and watch me for a few minutes. Five minutes went by, and just as she was about to walk away—convinced I must have been asleep—my little head popped up and I began moving things in my crib. I then stood up, climbed up and over the side and ran out to play with my toys, only to be greeted by my mother instead. Upon inspection, she realized I piled blankets and stuffed animals up until I could throw myself over and out of the crib. Shortly thereafter, I began doing the same with baby-gates to get into rooms and things that weren’t meant for me.
Essentially, my grandma explained that baby-gates were traded for doors with handles I couldn’t reach, and my crib was exchanged for a “big girl” bed. She went one to tell me other stories of when I was a little older: like when I laughed at my mom the one time she tried to spank me, or how I would make her read me words out of a dictionary then would run around saying the word I liked the best all day. She told me that I always tested my mother’s patience, but at the same time, would only show her—and I do mean, only her—the hand-sign for “I love you.”
To this day, my mother and I clash, because she wants me to things one way, and I want to do things another way. But at the end of the day, I can never stay mad at her and vice versa; we love each other too much, and life is too short to stay mad at those you love. On my eighteenth birthday, she admitted to me that the past year was strange for her as she watched me grow up and go through the process of applying to college; she never experienced that, as she was pregnant with me, and received a baby instead of diploma at graduation. Her exact words were, “though I wouldn’t trade you for the world, I’m glad you don’t have to go through what I did.”
Not sure of what to say, I asked my mother what was going through her mind as I constantly pushed the limits as a little kid. She simply responded that when she didn’t want to pull her hair out, she worried about what my “rebellious spirit” meant for me and what my life would be like when I was eighteen. But now, that the eighteenth year is here, and she knows my future will be bright and “couldn’t be prouder.”