Zeca and I were running errands on Saturday and, at one point, I randomly shouted “Scooby Dooby Doo!” which was weird because I am not prone to Scooby Tourettes. Zeca didn’t seem to think it odd, however, and latched onto my utterance as a suggestion to play Scooby Doo. Although I was not sure what this game would entail and we were in public, I agreed because I’m not always a horrible drag of a mother. She excitedly took on the role of casting director and said, “I’m Daphne and you’re Velma!” “Wait a minute! Why?”, I asked. She cocked her head, gave me a patronizing little smile and said, “Mom, I look like Daphne and you…you know…you look like Velma.” Not surprisingly, I have always identified with Velma and I hang out with a lot of Velmas - I don’t have a lot of experience with Daphnes. When I imagined having a daughter, I always assumed that Velmas beget Velmas and learned the hard way that, sometimes, Velmas beget Daphnes. I often feel unprepared to raise this daughter of mine. What do I know about long hair and and dresses with frills? I’ll tell ya – nothin’. But, I try. I buy the barrettes and do my best to style her hair. I endure the squeals of delight over girly dresses and leggings. I paint her nails and buy the neon pink Hello Kitty socks. I do it because it brings her incredible joy but it is not always easy. There are times when I insist on jeans and practical shoes but, as much I want my daughter to be more Super Girl than Über Girl, I want her to be who she is more. I know what it’s like to be at odds with other people’s expectations so I smile as she twirls in her dresses and I tell her that she’s beautiful…and funny…and smart…and strong…and independent. She is all of those things and the way she moves in the world reminds me every single day that you cannot know a person by her appearance. Because, just when I think I know exactly what she’ll do, she’ll do something that I could have never imagined and the surprise makes it all the sweeter.
Velma may be smart but she has a lot to learn and Daphne? Well, Daphne is no chimp.