This is my oldest daughter. I want to be like her when I grow up. She is tall, thin, goofy, funny, modest, gorgeous and extremely intelligent. I have learned so many things from her, and most of them are things about myself.
Manudo is a voracious reader. I never thought that I would ever say to a child "Put the book down." I sometimes find her under her covers with a flashlight reading at night! Then, she wakes up all cranky the next morning and can't understand why...duh....
The biggest lesson Manudo has taught me is that it is OKAY to be different. She is her own person, all the time. She does not bend to convention or peer pressure. If someone doesn't like her, she really doesn't care. If someone does something stupid, she isn't afraid to confront them. Until Manudo, I thought being popular with my peers was really important. To this day I still get hurt feelings if my friends have a party and don't invite me. My quirky daughter has taught me that the people who really matter are the ones that want you to be with them...and if they don't then it really isn't worth getting your panties in a wad about because they really don't matter.
She is a fierce protector of her little siblings. It is ironic to me that she will beat the Hell out of them and yell about how annoying they are, but if another person even comes near them she is like a tigress protecting her cubs. Of course, five minutes later she is telling them that she wishes she was an only child.
Manudo is the kid that offers to help out at parties by helping the adults clean or watching all the smaller children. She has an old soul, I think, and really likes being around older kids and adults more than kids her own age. When I asked her about it she said, "Girls my age are into crazy stuff like Justin Bieber, make-up, giggling and other time wasters." I kid you not. There are no posters hanging on the walls and most of the time she forgets to turn her cell phone on!
Manudo also has a very kind heart. She never forgets a birthday or other special occasion. She also still thinks I am cool. That in itself is a great feeling and a miracle. Many of my friends with kids the same age are already complaining that their kids don't want to spend time with them....Sometimes I wish Manudo was more like that. I swear that she follows me around like a shadow. At least 10 times per day she bumps into me if I stop because she is constantly under-foot.
Now, don't get me wrong. This child is far from perfect. I get eye-rolls, screams of "You are so not fair" and other normal pre-teen angst from her. But all in all, she is a fabulous daughter and an even more amazing young woman. She has taught me that being a geeky nerd who never really fits in is Okay and to love myself a little bit more than I did before I met her. I thought I was the one who is supposed to be teaching her life's lessons.
Until next time,