I always said I wanted more for my children than I had. When my children were small and I made this wish, it had to do with monetary things, better houses, cars, jobs. Even a better marriage since mine had failed when they were small. I didn't dream at that time that my lovely daughter would exceed all my expectations and become not just more than I ever was, but the young woman that I wished I had been and the one I would be proud to emulate now at 46. She is confident, physically fit, beautiful (inside and out), and she just graduated at the top of her class. She is going to college on a Division 1 athletic scholarship for running cross country and track. She has the world at her finger tips, and she is conscious of all of it! She is emotionally mature and very humble regarding all of her gifts. I often tell people that I don't know where she came from.
This story is not just to brag about my great girl — although that's fun too! It's about what I learned about myself raising this amazing girl. I got to see how I wished I would have handled things. It made me sorry for the girl I was who grew up too fast and whose parents were busy and self involved in some ways. My parents didn't set boundaries so that I could remain young for as long as possible and didn't always hold me accountable. I have cried for my young self for all the things I missed trying to be older than I was. It's made me recognize how I lost my confidence and how many ways and times I have given my power to the wrong things or people.
My daughter has shown me how much emotional maturity it takes to rise above other's bad behavior and always take the high road. Watching her deal with boyfriends and the trials of adolescent dating have taught me where I learned to take the back seat to a man and allow him to mistreat me. I've learned to stand up for myself and to fight for my self, protect myself. She has shown me how moderation and self discpline will keep you healthy and give you a reason to be proud of yourself. She has proven to me that good things come to those who work hard and perservere. Everytime I saw her cross the finish line at a cross country race, she showed me what it means to be an athlete and to rise above pain to be a winner. She has shown me the difference in being average and getting by and working as hard as you can to be better than that. She isn't the most talented runner, or the smartest person — although she is talented and extremely intelligent — but she is the hardest worker I've ever known. All of her accomplishments are due to hard work. How did I not know these things before? How did I get to be middle aged and just know know that extra effort really does determine the difference between winning and just finishing?
So this year, my 47th year, I will start again. I will work hard and perservere, and as my daughter starts her new life in college, I will begin a new chapter of my life. I believe it will be the best one yet. I will use all the things I've learned from my daughter to make sure it is!