I Found My Daughter’s iMovie Sessions And Realized That She Is Already Critiquing Herself

Raising Confident GirlsYesterday afternoon I was emptying my desktop trash (I’m notorious for throwing out things I need) and when I checked the folder I found some files with the extension marked .movie. And the preview showed an image of my daughter, wearing pajamas, her father’s big black headphones over her tiny ears. Because I’m her mother, and because it’s my computer, I dragged one of the files from the trash and pushed play, and watched as this shrimp, this 8-year-old babygirl, MY girl, watched her reflection on the computer camera screen as she sang along to a music video about boys and heartbreak and not knowing better and knowing better now. Lips were pursed. Hands were “talked to.” Shoulders were shrugged and shimmied, her long curly hair whipping back and forth.

Good Lord.

I gasped, and my eyes filled with tears, and I laughed, and watched in awe. If you have kids you know these moments, these times when you see a video of them or you eavesdrop and hear them singing in their room or you read a poignant school journaling assignment or you overhear them speaking to a friend. Times when you feel your heart could burst with these emotions that fill your chest and threaten to escape from your rib cage like birds who have been caged too long. My baby.

But towards the end of the video she sort of frowned at herself, dissatisfied with her private karaoke moment, the utter joy at singing along with her jam forgotten as she maybe caught a glimpse of something she disliked about her face, maybe the hair she always begs me to straighten because her friends and Barbie don’t have hair like her. I don’t know.

When she came home I wanted to ask her, I wanted to show her the video and tell her how awesome I think she is, tell her she did a good job with carrying a tune, ask her why she frowned when she was done. But this was not my moment, and it was bad enough I had watched her video. But then again, my daughter, my house, my computer and all the parents know these days this sort of snooping is allowed. So I didn’t mention it, and I just hugged her very hard and helped with homework.

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  • erik28


  • http://twitter.com/marisasaystweet MarisaSays

    This gave me chills, Eve. So lovely.

    I think most likely your daughter will be fierce, because she’s your daughter. And kudos to you on respecting her privacy and space and not bringing this up with her now. My mom was very respectful of my privacy in this way, and it always mattered so much to me that she did that. I’ll never know what she snooped about and didn’t tell me, of course, but I trusted her and shared with her more because she didn’t (openly) pry.

    And I’m a chronic deleter of important stuff too. I just love the feeling of emptying the trash, be it my inbox, my computer desktop or the actual trash. Every now and again, something that shouldn’t get tossed does. Whoops!

  • Daisy

    I totally cried at the end of this article.

  • NeuroNerd

    I’m not sure if you’re asking for advice, but I’ll say, as crappy as this sounds, my mom telling me I was beautiful or smart or worthy never quite felt honest because, well, she’s my mom and she’s supposed to feel that way. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not complaining. I think if she hadn’t said those things my self esteem would have suffered, but she didn’t reassure me when I was feeling down.

    It was hearing it from others, especially older women that I admired, that really made an impact on me. Hearing praise from people who were under no obligation to love me felt more objective and therefore more true.

    All of that to day, I’m sure you surround your daughter with positive influences whom she respects and admires. You might encourage them to compliment her on the attributes that she’s self-conscious about. Hearing that Ms. So-and-so, who you look up to, loves your curly hair, might give her a boost of confidence.

  • Melody

    Beautiful article. I loved this.

  • http://twitter.com/MissesCaballero Marie Antoinette

    I had goosebumps while reading this. Another amazing read!