Tattoo Removal

We have this monkey. It's one of those stuffed animals with extra long arms and velcro hands so a child could wrap it around themselves and wear it/hug it/show it off. We really like to play, 'Who's Got a Monkey on their Back'. (I know that this is a totally inappropriate thing to say to your children, especially given the amount of *aholic* in their gene pool, but when one spends all day, every day, in the company of 3 people who haven't even gone through middle school yet, one must get one's kicks where one can.)

3of3 loves this monkey. Me? It gives the THE SHIVERS. It's bright red and quite probably comes alive at night and kills prostitutes. Anyway, she was up all late again the other night, because my girl wants to rock and roll all night, and she was playing with the monkey. I told her it was time for monkey to go ni-night so she could go ni-night, and she, well, she did this thing. She wrapped the monkey up in the blanket and started rocking it. I asked her if we should get a ba-ba for monkey, too, so they both could have one. She thought we should.

So, baby and monkey sat on the comfy chair (please read that with the proper Spanish Inquisition inflection; it doesn't work without it) and they had ba-bas. She held monkey, gave it mo-mo-wa-wa (water) and rubbed its head. She talked to it in whispers that I couldn't hear. She brushed its weird ass hair off its weird ass forehead and kissed it. She cradled it. She gave it lovin'. She was copying me.

Flashback to 1975-1992: My momma didn't love me. Cliche prison tattoo; summation of my childhood. She really didn't. She kinda hated my guts, actually. I was always terrified of having a daughter and totally fucking her up. I was afraid that I would do the only thing I knew to do with a little girl, and I had no interest in either beating the shit out of a child OR crushing all of her hopes and dreams. So, I vowed to never have a girl. The first time I got pregnant, I was sure it was girl (you'd call the looney bin if I told you why, so I won't) and I didn't keep the baby. I couldn't have a girl, not me. I'd ruin it, just like every woman in my family ruins it with their daughters.

Fast Forward to 2004: I find out I'm playing host to one baby girl. Total. Freakout. Nothing, ever, has scared me that much. I was afraid to be alone with her after she was born. I was afraid to talk to her, to tell her anything, to touch her. (Um, nobody knows that part, by the way. Let's just keep that between us.) I have been sitting here, waiting for 2+ years, waiting to snap, waiting to turn on this kid, waiting for a sign that no matter how much I want it to be different, that I am no different than those women I share a genetic code with and that I can't raise a girl.

Fast Forward to 2007: Guess what? I haven't ruined her. I haven't hurt her, ever. I have done right by this kid, clearly. SHE knows how to be a momma (to a monkey, but it's something). To her, ni-night means kisses and hugs and stories. I never knew those things. That night, with the monkey and the ba-ba, that little girl laser-removed that cheesy tattoo that has sat over my heart for 32 years. Because, you know what? Who gives a shit who my momma loved? I love this kid, and I am better than all those women, and my daughter is lovely and fine and perfect. And she's going to be ok, and so am I.