“Margaret. No it’s not.” I don’t remember what we were arguing about, but I remember this part, “Margaret, do you think you’re smarter than me?”

It was just a rhetorical question, one that I think all parents ask once their child reaches a certain age. I was brushing and fixing Margaret’s hair before school; she was in 5th grade at the time. I saw the face she made because we were in front of a mirror–side eyes, pursed lips, slightly raised eyebrows. 

She did think it. The question hadn’t reminded her of her place as the child. She honestly looked annoyed that she had to deal with my parental idiocy.

“Margaret,” I spun her to face me, and asked again…sincerely this time, “Do you? Do you REALLY think you’re smarter than me? Really?”

“Maybe a little.” Her honest answer at 11 years old. She shrugged slightly and made a similar face again, but this time there was maybe a tiny bit of sympathy for me too. After all, I had just been forced to learn the truth. Meet Margaret.

Margaret Tracy Elizabeth, born on December 2, 2001. She’s 14 now; she’s had to live with the unfair conditions that her mom will never be her intellectual equal for years now. She finally told me when she was 11, but she had known it long before then. 


“Can I just sleep on the floor next to your bed?” Margaret doesn’t do sappy. Her question surprised me. 

My due date with Clara (my 4th daughter) came and went. The next morning would be 5 days past my 40-week mark. 

Today had been an emotional day…lots of labor for several hours in the morning, and then it all just…stopped. I had all my girls with a midwife, all water births except for Margaret. So if I was past my due date, I had to just wait it out. Home birth is so special and intimate, and I wouldn’t have it any other way…but it can be very emotionally-taxing too. 

“Are you sure you want to sleep on the floor, Margaret?”

“Yes.” She was already down there.
Margaret called the midwife from my phone at 2:16am. I had Clara at 3:12am. When I woke, the labor was already so intense, I couldn’t have made the phone call myself. 

Margaret must have known somehow that I needed her in there, being that she is smarter than me and all.

Or maybe, just maybe, she loves me. 


Margaret didn’t make cheerleading or drill team when she tried out last year in 7th grade. I was completely shocked. She was way better at everything than I had been in school, and I was in cheer for 2 years.

“I didn’t make it.” I watched her open the email and swallow her emotions. 

“Are you serious?!” I took the phone and scanned the list; she must have missed her name on it. It wasn’t there.

She was a statue, slowly processing.

“Hey…it’s okay, Margaret. I know TONS of cool people, most of them were never cheerleaders.” I wrapped my arms around her. I heard maybe 2 sniffles, then she backed away. 

“Yeah I don’t want to do this.” Just like that with Margaret. She is in control of her emotions. She decides she’s not going to waste time crying, and she can make it stop happening. 

“Lynde made drill team. Can I go stay the night and celebrate with her?”

Margaret’s maturity has impressed me so many times over the years. Maybe she is smarter than me. Were you ever a little girl? Did you ever need me? 

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