Friday, August 7, 2009

My Daughter Diana at an Earlier Age

When my daughter Diana was in middle school, one of her teachers gave her a first-day writing assignment for her parents to do. The parent had to describe the child. That was all there was to it, and it was optional. I wrote something, and then our printer would not work. I think I emailed it to the teacher, but I am not sure. I can't imagine how many students told me over the years that their printers would not work. Anyway, my daughter is nearly 20 now, but this is how I described her when she was 13.

Diana at Thirteen

My daughter Diana is an interesting mixture of my characteristics, her father’s, and some of her very own. We are very proud of her.

When she was born thirteen years ago, her daddy called everybody we knew and some people with whom we were barely acquainted. When we went home from the hospital, I couldn’t find anyone he hadn’t already told. Diana was bald-headed, a good sleeper, and an early talker. Her first word was “baby,” and her favorite thing to do was chew on a Raggedy Ann doll’s black cloth feet. She has changed a whole lot since then. She has recently grown a great deal of long hair, she says many more words than “baby,” and I think her favorite things to do now are to draw cartoons, to talk on the phone, and to figure out ways to avoid her little sister. She gets the ability to draw from her daddy. Another favorite thing to do is to go fishing with him. Early in the spring she caught a 30-pound catfish, very ugly in its facial expression but impressive. Her daddy was not quite as excited as he was when Diana was born, but he came close.

I see some of my own characteristics in her. She is usually patient unless pushed too far, does not like to be yelled at by anyone, and observes the world quietly and thoughtfully. She likes to write and hates to see anyone hurt. She loves animals, particularly her dog Melvin (the rare beagle-chihuahua). She likes to read, just as I do, but there is a difference: while I feel lost without a novel somewhere in the house, she can go a while between books. We both love Harry Potter, so she reads the books first, and then I get them. The television program we both enjoy the most is The Gilmore Girls. I see in her the beginnings of that sarcastic sense of humor that gets me in trouble sometimes. Also, neither of us is too concerned about things like clothes and hair styles.

Belonging entirely to her are her sense of responsibility, her independence, and her dependability. Her good grades and academic awards have filled her father, her grandparents, and me with pride. I have never had to worry about whether or not she did her homework. Diana is much more mature than I was at age 13, and she has a greater strength of character. The opinions of others don’t matter much to her when she thinks she is right. While she might get annoyed with her little sister, and while she might be amused by my fear of mice and my forgetfulness, she can become fiercely protective of us when she thinks we need protecting. Her best characteristics are the ones she has grown into on her own.

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