I had a message from a friend who is home with a baby and a preschooler. She had an awful night and a rough morning. She wouldn’t be able to join me for a glass of wine on the porch that night as we’d planned. Her message catapulted me back to the days of early motherhood when it was an accomplishment just to get a shower or unload the dishwasher. You don’t think those days will ever pass. But in an instant you are reminding your teen to put on deodorant and arguing with your daughter about appropriate attire. (Wait! That’s a bad example, I argued with my daughter over appropriate attire when she was four!)
At our house, I am the parent who plays games. Not head games –
Monopoly, Apples to Apples,
Spit, Trouble, Risk. When the kids were younger, I always wrestled mentally as
to whether I should try to beat them. Nowadays I have to fight for every
property, point, and win I get. They are steadily gaining on me.
But what’s really awe-inspiring is when your child becomes better at something than you are. Last Friday night I watched with a smile pasted on my face, choking back tears as my daughter sang in front of a small crowd at the local library. I’ve been watching Addie sing for years, pretty much since she could talk. She sings even when she doesn’t know it – in the shower, as she putzes around the house, while she’s on the swing, in the car with her headphones on.
Last Friday she was participating in an Open
Mic Night. She’s done things like this before and
she does well – for a pre-teen. But that night she did well – for a human
being. Let me back up and confess that I was a music major in college (the
first time around). I spent years singing and performing. I did fine.
Obviously, I never made a huge impact since you don’t own any of my CD’s.
Eventually, I realized that no one was going to pay (much) to hear me sing and
I got a real job. Music became my
hobby, and soon just a memory.
When old friends hear Addie sing, they always say – “she inherited your voice” and I nod with pride. But let me be the first to tell you, my daughter can sing circles around me. She has a confidence and attitude that I never had behind the microphone. And she has a voice with depth and color beyond her years. Think I’m just an overly proud mom? Check her out on youtube.
It is a powerful moment when you see your child surpass you.
My oldest son surpassed my math
knowledge back when he was in sixth grade. And sometimes when I read his
writing, I am awestruck that he could have this much talent at such a young
age. I’m still struggling to write well, and he has a huge head-start on me. I
tell him that someday when he gets published, he’ll have to put a good word in
for me with his agent.
We all hope that our children will be happy and successful. But we worry – after all these are the people who can’t pick up their wet towels, wipe the jelly off the counter, or find their other shoe. How will they survive on their own?