The XX Factor

What It Took to Make Me Jealous of My Daughter

Emily, if you’re still collecting anecdotes from parents who are envious of their children, and children who outshine their folks, I can add to your list. My daughter, born when I was only 22, somehow absorbed the energy I thought was my own birthright and left me with a fraction to use by serving her. I didn’t mind. It was more satisfying to watch her run and twirl than have the ability to stay awake after her bedtime. Then, as my youth faded, my little girl became ever lovelier. I gave up my looking glass and only gazed at her happy face. Next, she became a professional woman and, sooner than I expected, exceeded my achievements.  Again, there was only applause from me. Now she is thinking she might have a child herself. A little girl, perhaps, in whose hair she will weave colored ribbons. Some small person my daughter can listen to and laugh over and cheer on-even the times that her child goes to bed sticky or wakes up cross. Someone that my daughter can trade her energy, youth, and ambition for, who will adore her mommy and smell deliciously like new adventures, soggy bathing suits and coco puffs. Now, I’m jealous.