Every day, I find more reasons to be amazed at how much Allyson is like me. For one thing, she LOOKS so much like me that people who've known me forever find it uncanny. And she acts like me, too--curious, sensitive, and very headstrong.
But in some very important ways, she's not like me at all. For example, she has taken joy in sharing from an early age, whereas I've struggled to become more generous as an adult. My secret impulse is to snatch the last cookie and gobble it up before anyone can challenge me, but I've gradually learned to consciously consider others' needs before my own. Allyson, on the other hand, makes sure the rest of us get our share before she eats her portion. I see her father in her, and I love them both for it.
Tonight was a perfect example. Allyson was getting into her cranky stage just before bed, demanding to watch Noggin, her preschool channel (actually called Nick Jr. now). But Bill didn't turn it on for her right away because she hadn't asked nicely.
Meanwhile, I was passing through the TV room with some laundry, and a program caught my eye--Say Yes to the Dress. The show featured three beautiful brides who were trying to decide on wedding dresses. I plopped onto the floor and started folding my load, riveted to the screen for some unfathomable reason. Allyson sat nearby on the couch, watching the show with me and adding her own commentary: "Ooh, lots of sparkles!"
A girl named Sarah burst into tears when she found out the dress she'd fallen in love with was priced at $12,000. At first she said there was no way she could spend that much, but it was easy to see that she was weakening. Next, they cut over to a frequent beauty pageant contestant who said she wanted a "Pamela Anderson style that [would] knock the guests over" when they saw her walk down the aisle. She'd certainly found that dress--a sequin-studded mini dress with a transparent panel from just below the bodice to just above the buttocks. It was an eye-popping style, and a large entourage of friends were trying to dissuade her from her choice. The third girl had purchased a form-fitting white gown with startling black trim nine months previously, and now that it was nearly time for the wedding she realized she'd gained several pounds; it was now so tight that she couldn't sit down. She said she would do whatever it took to get into that dress in a couple of weeks.
When the show went to a commercial, I raced around putting away folded clothes. "Tell me when it's back on," I called over my shoulder.
"Mama! Come back quick!" she hollered a minute later, and I settled beside her on the couch just in time to see Sarah agree to spend the $12,000. "No more mani's and pedi's until after the wedding," she rationalized, her face once more radiant with reflected glory from the amazing dress.
As the scene returned to the Pamela Anderson pageant girl, Allyson asked, "Mama, are you cue-ri-ous about which dress she wants?"
"Yes, I am. Are you curious?"
"No, not really. I actually don't like this show so much."
"Then why are you watching it?" I asked in surprise.
"It's 'cuz I know you like it so much."
"Oh, baby, you are so sweet!" I exclaimed, planting a noisy kiss on her cheek. Suddenly the show wasn't half so interesting. "Do you want to watch Noggin now?"
I was still grinning when Allyson started singing along with one of her favorite shows: "O-livia! O-livia!"
Again I ask you, what did I ever do to deserve this sweet child?