There are lots of ways I try to strengthen my bond with my daughter. We play lots of iPad apps together. We watch a variety of television shows and movies that she enjoys. I’ve scoured and evaluated all of these things before they get in front of her. But not everything I’ve chosen to introduce has struck a chord with her. Some apps haven’t kept her interest for more than a few seconds. And my attempt to show her a strong female character right out of the gate with “Brave” was a disaster as she was terrified by the bear sequence at the beginning.
I’m someone who loves all things geek and my husband’s the same way, so we’ve been immersing her in our world since the day she was born. We took pictures of her at a couple months old with a controller in her lap. She had a onesie that made her look like a companion cube. She had another onesie that said “Size matters not” with images of the short “Star Wars” characters—Yoda, R2D2, Wicket, and a Jawa. As she got a little bigger, she had a t-shirt that said “Geek Beta.” We just recently bought her a shirt with a girl scientist on it that she’s not even big enough to wear yet.
Now that she’s 3, I’ve started to realize that she’s at a point where she wants to make her own decisions—that I can’t make them for her anymore. I feel immensely proud when she declares that red is her favorite color and somewhat disappointed when she wants to wear only pink. This is all new territory for me and some of these feelings are things I wasn’t prepared for no matter how many parenting books I’ve read or how much I watched other friends raise their own kids. Even writing this piece is bringing tears to my eyes.
That’s why GeekGirlCon was so special to me this year. It gave me the opportunity to share my love of geeky things with her and to see her choose to embrace it all on her own. Yes, it was my choice to take her to the convention in the first place, but I let her take the wheel once we were there. She wanted to do “experiments” right away so we went to the DIY Science Zone and returned two more times throughout the day. The first thing she wanted to buy was a framed painting of a Yoshi egg. She wanted a stuffed dragon and a necklace with a 20-sided die on it.
But the defining moment of the convention was when we found a group of cosplayers dressed as the emotions from “Inside Out.” That was when I knew our worlds were truly aligned. She saw characters she loved within a space that I love. She wanted to follow them everywhere. She was even talking about how they could come home with us and she could show them her iPad apps.
I realize that all of these elements were presented before her with the absence of competing interests like Barbies and teddy bears, but she could have been bored. She could have asked to go home. Instead she was upset when it was time to leave. She’s still been asking when we can go back and if the emotions will be there. She may never choose to cosplay herself. She might not want to go to GeekGirlCon a few years from now. But in these few moments this year, we shared something that I will never forget. And I have this convention to thank for it.