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The Importance of Being Willow

Willow is a remarkable child.  Ok, so ALL of my kids are amazing.  Seriously.  They are kind and loving, thoughtful, smart, talented, funny, clever….  The list could go on forever, the same list I’m sure all moms have.

But Willow is the one that leaves the huz and I shaking our heads in exasperation, and occasionally quaking in our boots when we think about the future.  She has a spine of steel.  She has buckets of self confidence and she is just so damn secure in her own awesomeness.  You could never get her to do something she didn’t want to do. Not ever.

She is the one that I am never sure the best way to parent.  The one that makes the other kids cry (including Hannah, who is thirteen!) because she NEVER backs down. Not ever.  The one that has me second guessing my choices and the one that requires the most patience and deep calming breaths.  I rarely use  “time out” with any of my kids, but the few times I have it is almost exclusively Willow that ends up there.  And let me just say, she is so cool and controlled that she walks over to the chair as if it is her idea! 

It doesn’t work.

Taking her shopping for clothes is intense.  She has distinctive ideas about what she will and will not wear.

This past summer my mother took the kids to Target to buy them each an outfit.  Willow took as long as Hannah, Patrick and Cooper combined because my mother kept choosing stuff that she just wouldn’t wear.  School time is interesting, because Willow pushes herself to do the same work as Patrick, even though he is two grades above her.  I finally gave up and give them the same work to do.

When she was four she came up to me in the kitchen one morning and said:

“Mama.  I am sooooo pretty.” And she twirled around the room, blonde curls flying about her face.

To which I replied.  “Yes, you are Willow.  You are also very smart and funny too.”

And she smiled and said.  “I know I am.  I’m pretty on the outside and smart on the inside.”  And she skipped away.

Yesterday I had a moment where( even though I knew all of this) I was just overwhelmed with her….


I was sitting on the couch talking with Patrick while I braided Willow’s hair for the day.  Patrick was trying to tease her, saying:

“I’m gonna tell, I’m going to tell…” In a sing song voice, a smirk across his face as he taunted Willow.

“Nope.” Willow replied, not taking the bait.

“Yes I am. I’m soooooooooo telling.”

“What are you two talking about?” I asked.

“Willow thinks Sam is cuuuuute and I’m going to tellllllllll him.” Part of me was about to tell him that it is hurtful to share secrets, and another part was thinking but Sam is twelve!  Before I could say a word Willow took matters into her own hands:

“No you won’t.” She said calmly.

“Yesssss I will!” He replied.

“I don’t think so Patrick. You won’t tell him.  I’ll tell him myself.”

Wait. What?  I looked at my daughter and said, “You’re going to tell Sam you think he is cute?”

“Sure, why not?” She shrugged.  Then the kids ran off to play.

I am in awe of how sure she is of herself.  I remember when I was a little girl and liked a boy.  I would never, not ever, be able to just walk up to him and tell him I liked him.  Not ever.  I remember how my friends and I would confess our crushes at sleepovers and little notes, swearing each other to secrecy.  We would have been mortified if someone spilled the beans.  But Willow isn’t like that.  And she is only five. 

What the heck will she be like at sixteen?  I am a wee bit scared.

So just remember…  I warned you.

25 Responses to The Importance of Being Willow

  1. This may be one of my favourite Joni-posts ever. I’ve followed Willow with interest for a while now and always look forward to titbits about her. Her very Willowness is awesome. She is, also, beautiful so yes – be afraid, be very afraid!

  2. Ah your Willow and my Lily sound a lot alike! On the one hand it’s great that we are raising such amazing, self aware, confident girls. On the other it is absolutely terrifying!
    Here’s hoping we can band together mama and make it through safely to the other side of their childhood!

  3. I like to see pictures of Willow on here because I think it’s so awesome how much she looks like you. I don’t think you’ve blogged about her alot… and by the way, I am growing my 18 month old sons hair out so it will be awesome like Coopers lol. Everybody says cut it but I say…. No.

  4. Aaahhh my little chicken!
    Most fathers dread the moment their daughters discover boys. They might carry around mental images of confrontation with their little Princess’potential suitors. Perhaps this image involves cleaning a shotgun of some kind whilst the “rules” are discussed. Or even a lean in whispered “I got no problem going back to jail, son”
    I on the other hand see me consoling Willow”s victi….er boyfriends as they weep at my dining table. “Don’t worry son, she’s like this with all of you. You did nothing wrong”. I’ll slip them $20 and usher them out the back door. Instead of sizing them up for their worth I’ll probably play the “how long will this one survive” game.

  5. In regard to my previous and somewhat rash comments on this blog I would like to issue a full and unconditional retraction. Willow does not have victims and does not make boys cry. Also ponies rule.
    I further retract 100% ANY implication that Willow is in any way mean or anything other than fully awesometastic.
    I make this retraction wholly of my own volition and in total absence of any coercing from the aforemantioned awesome Ms Latham.
    Yours in regret


    No you can’t have a pony to make up for it

    OK you can have a pony but only a small one

    OK, you can have a bigger one, but just the one

    JONI……we need to buy a stable!

    • Ok, THAT was supposed to go as a comment on one of Joni’s comments. HI JAMES! Well, at least you know what to look for in the future. I’ll be glad to do what I can to help, but like I said in another comment, you might consider her taking some acting classes.

  6. She’s so awesome! Reminds me a bit of my Alex. Who’s super confident about himself and his style, but other areas, not so much. He’s sure of who he is, but not over confident, unless he’s sure he’s right. lol!

    Good Luck with Willow. She sounds as headstrong as they come 😉 she’s a cutie and knows it!

  7. She sure is cute! I love that spunk in kids. I know how you feel about the parenting, I have one like that. Sometimes they leave you wondering how you’ll make it through the day. Oh the lessons our children teach us, along with the joy they give us.

  8. My cousin Bekah liked a boy that was oh 13-14 when she was 5 and she told him all the time he was cute. Not just that he was cute but that she loved him and was going to marry him. She would tell people he was her boyfriend, and him being the good guy he is would say yup, that’s my girlfriend and then go play baseball (he was on her big brother’s team that her dad coached).

    She’s 14 now and like me developed very early and easily looks to be a high school. But she is so self confident. She knows what she wants and how to get it. She’s even got her mom to let her get a lip ring! By presenting the argument that she wanted to get it now before she had to get a job and wouldn’t be able to have a piercing.


  9. She reminds me so much of Lyra from the His Dark Materials series. I hope my daughter keeps her independence and sense of curiosity as she grows, because at 28 months she already shares many of your daughter’s personality traits. While irritating at times and exhausting pretty much always, I continue to nurture this behavior in hopes of her becoming the woman she chooses to be. <3

  10. You know, you’re living right outside Brad Pitt’s hometown. He went to college in Springfield.

    I mention this because – it would seem that Willow is trying to become a model or actress. That “spine of steel” would be a major prerequisite. It might be worth looking into some classes for her along that line, if for nothing else than to see if she’s interested in it. You might be raising the next Audrey Hepburn!

  11. Joni, this is so cute and funny. I am not at all surprised at her personality. Did you ever think….she is just like YOU! Not you at her age, but NOW, she’s just like her mama!. You are confident, smart, and you don’t back down either. A lot of her personality comes from being secure, lol, and I think YOU, too, are that now as well. She’s going to be just fine at sixteen! haha You, maybe not, (so many boys, so little time) but she will be the queen wherever she goes. 😀

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