Thursday, October 22, 2015

Wanting to Be Like My Daughter

The twins turned two today. Their birthday was celebrated without much fanfare, just a couple of cupcakes with candles, a celebration that was just right for now. No gifts as they have plenty of toys to play with as leftovers from Christmas. But today I was the one to receive the gift.

Earlier this evening, I took the twins to the park to play for just a few minutes which ended up being half an hour. We went from swing to swing-- my daughter adores them. Watching her swing is like watching childhood manifest. She grips the chains and throws her head back, just lost in the awesome flying sensation. Her contagious smile ever present and the air punctuated with her giggles. To watch her swing is to remember childhood.

But that's not where the gift came in. The playground equipment wasn't made for toddlers but for bigger kids. I know that but my children do not, especially my daughter. There is a jungle gym of sorts that is definitely designed with the bigger kids in mind. And my daughter loves to climb up the first few rungs and then try to touch the higher ones. Tonight was no different. She excitedly climbed up and I watched her, gaze affixed on the next rung, stretch her hand towards it, determined. I stepped into the gap and she timidly placed her foot on my chest. Excitement shone from her eyes when her hand connected to the next rung. She didn't stop there and instead waited with her arms stretched towards the next rung. I stepped into the next gap. This time she didn't hesitate to use the help I offered and quickly went to the next rung. We repeated this process until the very last rung. Triumph and pride radiated from her being. She scrambled down from my arms and raced back to the beginning to start the process again. This happened three times before I guided her to something else.
So what was the gift? In that moment I was supremely proud of her. She was fearless, tenacious, and determined. But later on, standing in the bathroom as I was about to enter the shower, that moment replayed in my head and so did all the emotions I felt watching her. Where I felt fear, she felt anticipation. Where I felt hopelessness, she felt determination. When I felt weary, she felt energized. When I thought we were done, she had only just begun. And standing in that bathroom, looking into the mirror, tears brimming in my eyes, I wanted to be like her. I want to look at life the way she looked at that jungle gym, with excitement in the face of obstacles to overcome, to experience, and to learn from as I climbed over towards the next chapter. 

My daughter will never know how much she affects me, how much she makes me want to be better, to be someone she would one day hope to be like. I feel so honored to have been chosen to be her mother. And, until now, I wasn't sure that I was worthy of that honor. But seeing the person she is becoming, I know that I am the right person for the job. And now I feel a great sense of responsibility to protect who she is and who she's becoming. I don't ever want her to have her light almost extinguished as mine was.