Accepting who our kids are has a lot to do with how we see ourselves. When I was a young Mom, I looked at my baby daughter and, aside from being totally in love with her, saw visions for her similar to mine, or better than mine as gauged by my definitions of success and happiness.
As my kids have gotten older, they have taught me so much. In fact, I think I should keep on breeding, because I realize now there is so much more I need to learn; so much that I don't know. Kids are amazing that way.
What I love most is being delighted by them in the most unexpected way. Sometimes when I'm talking to my daughters, I am wowed by their extraordinary lack of interest in vocabulary. I will try to pepper our driving home conversation with words they don't normally use, and I spend my time explaining the meanings to some very uninterested kids.
So when I watch my oldest onstage recite Shakespeare as Olivia in Twelfth Night like it was her native tongue, I am understandably floored.
Likewise, there is my youngest daughter, brilliant but certainly not very graceful (she has demonstrated this with a broken foot as a result of doing nothing) and the least physical of all my kids. When I was pregnant with Jacob I would hike the foothills in our neighborhood with her and she would inevitably ask if we could drive, rather than walk, the hiking paths. So when she returned last night from a class skiing trip unscathed, grinning from ear to ear with tales from the ski lifts, I was also floored. She wants to go downhill skiing this weekend with me. Who would have thought.
I used to dread this phase of my life. I would pity my girlfriends who no longer had little ones with chubby fists in their homes, and I imagine some of you out there with young ones hear my stories of adolescent woes and cringe for when it's your turn. That part is dreadful, but the flipside of that coin is better than anything you'll know.