It was one of those brilliantly sunny evenings when we were all outside, the kids were playing together and my husband and I were able to simply sit at the patio table and watch them. That doesn’t happen very often so I was certainly trying to soak it in for the 7 minutes it lasted before someone needed a drink, a diaper change or an attitude adjustment.
I was looking at my 4 year old and thinking about how grown up she suddenly looked. She’s getting tall and lanky but hasn’t lost the dimple that only shows when she smiles really big. Her eyes are the exact same shade of green as mine and my Mom’s. Sometimes I wonder if she will take a little bit of pride in that like I do when people tell me I look like my Mom. Her nose doesn’t turn up at the end like mine. It looks like her Dad’s. Sometimes I wonder if my parents sat and looked at me like this when I was little and wondered the same things I’m wondering about my kids.
Will they grow up to be journalists like I did? Or will they blaze their own trail and surprise us with their chosen careers? Will they want to be working moms or stay-at-home moms? Will they realize they may or may not have that option? Will they even want to be moms? And will they be confident enough to know that’s OK to be whatever they want to be?
Like most other women, I fell in love and had my heart broken more than once. I look at my daughters and know that will happen to them, too. Sometimes I wonder if they’ll come to me so I can help them through those tough times. I wonder if they’ll get stronger from it like I did or if they’ll wallow in the pain for a little too long like I also did a time or two. I wonder if they’ll realize having your heart broken is often just part of growing up and learning what you don’t want when choosing your life partner. And if I’m lucky enough to have them pick up the phone and call like I do with my Mom, will they immediately start crying when I say “Hello?” like I do when my Mom answers?
As I watched my daughters play in the yard without a care in the world, I wondered if they think I’m silly for making them do a Girl Power talk every day on the way to daycare. Or is that something they’ll recite in their heads when they get older and are faced with tough situations? Will they repeat it to their own daughters one day and then roll their eyes because they are “turning into their Mom”? Will they understand exactly what I mean when I recite one of my favorite quotes: “You are no better than anyone else and no one is better than you.”? Will they say please and thank you when they should when I’m not around? Will they be open, kind and accepting? Will they screw up from time to time like I did? How bad?
My pondering was quickly cut short, probably by a sister spat, but it made me realize that this is a very important time in our lives. The lessons we are working hard to instill in our children right now will make a difference down the line. There will be a time when we have to let go and hope they handle everything we wondered about more gracefully than we did.