As usual, Rambo and I are five to ten years behind the cultural zeitgeist so we are halfway through Season 2 of Game of Thrones. We are both impressed with Arya Stark because she reminds us of M. We would never allow M to watch the show with us. But I definitely see the similarities between the two girls.
Arya is strong-willed, physically strong, and fearless. Her older sister is the traditional “princess,” wrapped up in beauty, popularity, and romance. Arya is not interested in typical activities nor do her parents restrict her to these goals. In Season 1, Arya aspires to wield a sword. As we watched an episode, Rambo said, “That is our child. She is our child.”
M is a strong girl and has been from the get-go. When I was pregnant and before I knew my child’s gender, I was convinced she was a boy. She was active. Though I identify as a feminist, I had accepted the notion that activity, motion, and physical strength must mean a child is a boy. When I had my ultrasound, we could not see her gender. We could see the child kicking and punching. I was amused. (At that time, fitness and strength weren’t priorities: I was more focused on being mentally and emotionally strong to parent. The commitment to physical fitness came much later. ) I immediately decided I was expecting a son. Via blood test results, I found out she was a girl. It was a thrilling moment because I had a sense she would be the kind of woman I like.
As a woman, I understand we have interesting dynamics. I find strong women inspirational. I am uncomfortable around more traditional stereotypes of women. I had an opportunity to raise a girl in a different way than I was raised. My mother wasn’t huge on making me a girly girl (thank goodness.) If anything, my mom was the “bad cop” disciplinarian. She was my role model of a strong woman.
My daughter has always been physically active, physically strong, and fearless. As she gets older, she exhibits some anxiety but a lot of that is social or emotional. She is not afraid to fight and is intrigued by martial arts. She’s physically unafraid. She’s not intimidated by boys. She is comfortable in the company of all kinds of people of different ages, ethnicities, and genders.
Rambo and I often play fight about whose child M is. I argue that she’s more like me; she is attracted to the arts. She loves dance, music, reading, and art museums. She admires photographers and painters. Rambo believes she is more his child because she is strong, fast, and good at math. We go back and forth on who M resembles more. She is the wonderful amalgamation of her two parents. She is the daughter of a writer and a soldier, a peacemaker and a professional warrior. Basically she is Wonder Woman. Rambo says, “She is all mine.” I reply, “Did she spring from your head like Athena from Zeus?” Rambo likes that image since Athena is both intellect and war.
To further strengthen their bond, my family attended their first father-daughter dance. It took some doing. When it was initially brought up, we were declined. I told M to accept her father’s decision. We were both so excited when he became open to the idea. I was told they would not dance but was pleasantly surprised to hear they did grace the dance floor. They bond over building projects, technology and math. Now they have made a new memory together.