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Danielle Herzog Headshot

Things I Can't Tell My Daughter

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Danielle Herzog
Danielle Herzog

My 4-year-old daughter thinks I'm perfect. I can say with certainty that she is the only human being on this entire earth that thinks that. She tells me that I'm beautiful, and that I'm the best mommy ever. She tells me that my hair looks like Princess Belle's and that my jokes are hilarious.

And my goal is to keep her living those myths and lies for as long as feasibly possible. I'm not naïve. I know that once she reaches middle school, those beaming glances of adoration will be replaced with disgusted eye-rolling. And one day, she'll tell me that I don't understand what it's like to be a teenager, or that I was never young like her, so how could I know anything about what she's going through? And I will smile and nod, knowing the entire time that there was a world before having her that she never knew existed.

She'll never know that on my 16th birthday, I snuck a boy into my bedroom for the first time ever and let him make out with me, not because I liked him, but because I wanted to see what it was like to kiss a boy in my room. Verdict: Not so great. I had to hug him afterwards just to wipe his sloppy saliva off of my mouth.

She'll never know that I danced on a table for my 21st birthday after my close friends threw me a child's birthday party at McDonalds, and then proceeded to vomit all over my boyfriend at the time, his roommate and their dog. Even after three baths each, the dog and I still smelled of puke.

She'll never know that in high school, my friends all snuck into Heather Yeil's basement and watched our first porn to see what it was all about. I snorted Sprite out of my nose from laughing so hard during the first scene. Since watching it, I can't look at a pizza delivery man the same way again.

She'll never know that I lied to my parents to go to the after-prom party with a boyfriend they didn't like. That I thought I was ready to move past kissing, only to run away and hide for the entire evening. Once he found me, I had to convince him that it was normal for girls to have their period numerous times a month, so we had to wait for any kind of lingering touching. I only hope that he still doesn't believe that today. Or maybe, for his wife's sake, I hope he does.

And she'll never know that I will have to sit back and watch her make those same memories, mistakes and mishaps, just like my mother had to watch me do. And through it all, I will smile and hope that maybe, just maybe, she'll always believe that I'm the best Mommy out there. If not, I'm hoping she'll always believe that I have the hair of Princess Belle...

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