This was first published in May. But I thought I'd bring it over...
My daughter is Angry Newborn. Playing on Twitter last night, I was engaging in my normal silliness (playing hashtag games and trading wiseass comments with comedians). And as a punchline to a joke about an angry baby someone attached a picture that made me do a double-take. It was an image I recognized immediately, not because it has been all over the internet for years. But because it is my baby.
It was my sweet Pippy as a baby, brandishing the eyebrow that until last night had been the stuff of legend just within our family.
The picture, taken nine years ago, was from a time when neither hubby nor I had smart phones, from a time when we avoided social media like the plague in order to preserve our personal privacy. Go figure.
But now when I looked I could find my Pippy everywhere. Her face was being used in meme generators and posted all over sharing sites. Her face had been used as a comment to express distaste. It had even become someone’s art project.
Hit with a wave of shock that was equal parts maternal sentiment (Who doesn’t get that mommy tingle when they see a picture of their own baby?), and hell-bent rage (insert Liam Neeson voice, I will find who posted this pic) I did what any self-respecting mom could do. I double-checked with all my mommy friends.
I hit Facebook and put the picture up, hoping on hope I was mistaken. Within seconds comments poured in from her godmother, friends, aunts, and cousins. Oh, look at Pippy, said an aunt. I remember that eyebrow, said another. Hope was fading but I clung to it. And then, about 14 seconds later the comments came that sunk in my gut like rocks.
Pippy is angry baby.That’s been all over the internet. I know that pic.She’s so scary.
Then came the links to all the different ways people had used it. My stomach sunk even further and I started feeling more and more like Liam anticipating what I would do if I found someone had done something unsavory to a newborn picture of my child. Luckily, that wasn’t the case. It turned out that most people think it’s an adorable yet sometimes scary picture, which I can live with. She’s that kind of kid.
I could feel myself going through the stages of meme grief. I’d denied it. I raged. I bargained. But for a brief moment I got really sad. I guess that’s the depression stage. And it wasn’t because people were making fun of her. Because they weren’t, after all. If anything they were celebrating her uniqueness just as we do at home.
Pippy had come into the world with a serious, raised-eyebrow scowl. Literally. My husband said she came out looking at him like she was staring through his soul. And through the years we have accumulated hundreds of stories and pictures of that legendary “eyebrow.” In our family, it’s a bit of a thing.
We have pictures of Sophie giving the eyebrow to everyone from Mickey Mouse to Santa, from the time she was born until her birthday that just past. The "eyebrow" has become a member of our family in a way.
And, that was just it. I was sad because I felt like something that was ours had been given to the world. And I didn’t want to share it.
But the more I started reading —I stayed up until 2am reading everything I could about it. Mom worry is more powerful than any coffee. The more I searched, the more I saw comments on her cuteness, comments appreciating Pip’s ability to give a good-old dramatic look. She’s also known as dramatic baby, it turns out. Which is funny, because around our house she’s known as the most dramatic kid alive. She’s the kind of kid who makes an event out of a sandwich. So I guess, old habits die hard. And the Pipster has been who she is from the time she was born. The more I searched the more I realized the world sees Pippy for what she is, a unique little star who started shining the moment she came into the world. And that, I can accept.
*Pippy aka Sophie, was the poster girl for last fall’s Autism Speaks fund campaign. She enjoys running, jumping on the trampoline, caring for her fish Spike, and…SMILING.