When Your Child Doesn't Turn Out The Way You Pictured

What was I thinking when I thought I could picture a life with my daughter before I met her? Did I really think just because I was her mother I could shape her into exactly the child/girl/woman I wanted her to be?
08/31/2016 02:41 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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When I was pregnant with my first child in early 2006, I was a naive 20-year-old with no idea what I was in for as a mother. When I found out I was having a girl at 20 weeks along, I was over the moon and visions of a snow-white haired, blue eyed, little angel baby in my arms danced in my head night after night. I pictured her wearing tutus and big bows in her hair; I pictured us having girls days, complete with getting Starbucks and having mani-pedis. I pictured us staying up late chatting about life, and her being one of my best friends, at least while she was still young enough to think of me as her best friend. And don't even get me started on how I saw a future genius, Harvard Business School graduate growing in my belly.

This is not what happened.

First of all, my daughter has big brown eyes and dark blonde hair, which didn't even start to grow until she was about 2 years old. Cue my disappointment when bows were not an option on my bald baby. And forget about tutus, that lasted all of a month before she decided shorts and t-shirts were her thing. Granted, now that she is nearly 10 and can shop with me, she has started wearing dresses and glitter and sparkle; maybe a little too much sparkle.

And those mani-pedi dates I was looking forward to? Yeah, those still haven't happened. Instead when I ask her if she wants to have a "date" with mommy she ends up wanting to go get a smoothie or do something active, only to be cut short because she wants to get home in time to play outside with her friends. I guess nails and pampering just isn't her thing.

Oh and the close-knit, best friends, she-loves-me-more-than-daddy relationship I was hoping for, that didn't happen either. She is the truest form of a 'daddy's girl'. It doesn't matter if he is in the worst mood or busy (not giving her the time of day) and I'm available, she begs to be with him and would choose him any day over me.

What was I thinking when I thought I could picture a life with my daughter before I met her? Did I really think just because I was her mother I could shape her into exactly the child/girl/woman I wanted her to be? Granted, I lay the foundation for the people my children will be in society, but as children, it is not so easy to bend a child's strong will into whatever I want.

They are who they are and they're going to be who they're going to be. It is my job as their mother to teach them the foundations, morals, ethics, rules, laws of the world so that they can survive as the people they are and choose to be. It is my job to provide them with faith, comfort and safety, to show them love and compassion, empathy and sympathy. It is my job to always be there for them, no matter what, and to let them know that forgiveness, hope, and desire are important and special traits to encompass.

My daughter has my big brown eyes and my deep blonde hair, and she is beautiful. She has her father's outgoing spirit and is way more daring and free-spirited than I could ever be. She has her own unique style that represents her and how she's feeling. She learns at her own pace and will success with my help and become something great, I know this.

I have taught her respect, and to tidy up, even though she would rather not. She's compassionate to her brothers, is a lover of all creatures, and a friend to everyone. She's the life of the party when I couldn't be. She doesn't care what anybody thinks and is secure with who she is. She might not be what I had imagined because she is so different than I ever was; I had never met anyone like her. In most cases, she's the side of my personality that I don't utilize enough, and for this I'm grateful and a bit in awe. She may not have turned out (thus far) how I pictured her in my head, but she is shaping out to be a person I really admire and am pleased to have the gift of calling my daughter.