It is pretty amazing being a mom.
My life is so different than I thought it would be. If I had actually given it any thought, or had someone giving me direction, I would have been a writer or gone into marketing.
Instead, I studied anthropology, became a restaurant employee, a very mediocre auditor for a retail company, and then a mom.
I am struggling with what my next step is. My kids are at that crucial moment when they need advice and guidance and independence. The hand holding is mostly over. They can cross streets, cook food, dress themselves, and both are learning to drive cars.
Now it is time to be a better mom.
How do I make the transition from hand holder to cheerleader? From teaching mode to support?
I saw a child about the age of 5 break away from her mother in a busy intersection yesterday and run into traffic. The car in front of mine almost hit her, swerving and stopping just at the last second.
Her mother swiftly grabbed her and righted her in the crosswalk and they continued on her way.
I joked to my husband that I still hold our 12 year old's hand when crossing that intersection because it is so busy and that mother needed to do the same. The reality is my youngest daughter is an inch shorter than me and probably could carry me across the street. The hand holding days are over.
I am so proud of my daughters in ways I never thought I would be. They take care of each other and their friends. They share friends now, crossing peer groups and have the confidence to know that they should not be threatened. They are both intolerant of injustices that as adults they will be willing to overlook in others, but right now, they are very fiercely angry when they perceive racism or bigotry.
As they grow up, they realize they can choose with whom they associate and have the clarity to realize they are the average of their friends. Slowly, that is becoming a priority.
I realize being amazed and proud of your kids is not a new phenomenon. That I discover new ways every day to be so, I find surprising. Many people complain about their kids, especially teen daughters. Mine are not perfect, but they are easy to be around. Fun, even. I have a glimpse, often of the women they will be and I see that I am doing a good job raising them.
Leading them is overwhelming but rewarding. My life's work is not what I thought it would be, but the end result is even greater than I could imagine.