I watched Michelle Obama discussing the Women and Families Blue Print (I swear this isn't a political post), and as she talked about how much women have to juggle in their daily lives, I was struck by one thought:
My girls are damn good kids.
She talked about how—even if moms work—the bulk of child-rearing duties fall on them. I work. I work from home but I work. And yet I must carve out time in my day to cook, clean, do laundry, organize school papers, run the carpool, kiss booboos, arrange the playdates, grocery shop, administer medicine and on and on.
I am the one that has to clear space in my cluttered brain to remember what needs to be brought to camp, the school form the doctor needs to sign, the times and locations of various pick-ups and drop-offs, to buy and wrap the birthday presents, and on and on.
Over the years, I have learned to become more disciplined about my work life. Those of you that work from home know how hard it is to do especially when your office is also the playroom or you don't have regular childcare.
There were times when we did have regular childcare and I sent my kids off on adventures with one sitter or another. They saw spectacular things— the insides of museums and aquariums and conservatories and zoos and concert halls that I never saw because I was working.
Then I felt guilty.
So then there were times when I gave up the childcare and the work in order to have adventures of my own with my children. And we saw the insides of museums and aquariums and conservatories and zoos and concert halls together.
And then I missed working.
When I stopped working right before having Bunny, I told myself that when I did go back to work, it would be on my own terms. I would do what I loved and I would work from home so I could be with my girls. Always.
For awhile I couldn't find the balance, so I stopped trying. Now I know how to do what I do and it's easier. But through it all, the one thing I forgot to acknowledge was that I could only do what I do—be a work-from-home-mother—because my children are so terrific.
But how did they get that way?
I know I don't talk about them here much anymore. I share glimpses of our lives, snippets of our adventures together, but I just don't feel like sharing as much. Suffice it say, my interests have changed and they are older.
But I feel the need to get this on paper, as it were. So they know. So it's out there, that I know they have sacrificed. We all have sacrificed so that everyone's needs in this family are met.
Back to their terrific-ness.
My girls are independent, but not too much. Outgoing, but sometimes shy. Respectful, but appropriately so. They are social and quick to laugh and hug. They like to play with others, but are fine playing on their own if they don't feel like joining a game. They are quick to make "best friends." They play with each other, and I mean really play, and conflicts are rare. I'm porbably going to jinx it, but it's the truth.
I am so lucky to have such girls. Everyday more and more I am proud to be their mother.
Then it dawned on me that they are so special, in part, because of everyone who helped me to achieve my goals and dreams. Sure they are mostly a product of the way we raise them, but they are also touched by all their loving caregivers (and we have been blessed with great ones) who taught them to have an adventurous, curious spirit; their grandmothers who contribute to their well-roundedness and enrichment and who teach them about patience and manners and that it's okay to be spoiled rotten; their aunties and uncles who take them on different kinds of adventures (birdwatching, amusement parks) than their mother would normally show them; all the non-family aunties who had them over for play dates so I could catch a break thereby shaping their social development; our neighbors who teach them that they are part of a larger community and their actions affect others; their preschool and kindergarten teachers who let them be themselves and encouraged their strengths; their RE teachers who teach them to have an open mind and a loving heart (and that girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys!).
I am awed by what my girls—at their tender young ages of almost-four and just-turned-six—have become. I am even more awed by the potential within them.
Thank you all for my remarkable daughters, and in shaping their remarkableness thank you for letting me follow my dreams. (And yes, I am giving myself credit and thanking myself, too!)
Thank you Bunny and Wallie for being such remarkable daughters. I love you.
Sometimes, when you realize these things, you just want to tell the entire universe.