When my daughters were babies, they were so helpless that I set aside much of what was me, adult/person, to accommodate their demands. After that, they burrowed so readily into the fabric of our lives that it became difficult to separate what was theirs — triumphs and disappointments — from what was mine. I remember screaming for them and their teams on soccer fields. There were also dance recitals and piano performances. There was the time one of the girls was not invited to a friend’s party when all her other friends had been. I remember the depth of my grief; I think it surpassed hers. She was over it in an hour. I remember it still. As teenagers, their accomplishments were reflected on my bumper stickers. Stickers such as, “My child is student of the month at….”, etc. Later, their colleges stickers emblazoned my cars’ rear windows. The prestigious schools lent my slightly shabby autos a genteel victory. It said, to me at least, that I was a good parent. Now, my girls are women in their late twenties. They’re busy with their lives.
They call when they have time, and they are what I have always envisioned they should be. I had hoped they would have interesting work, friends and busy lives. But, now I realize that I believe their accomplishments and their achievements are theirs alone. They were with us for a time, but they are individuals who have become what they were destined to become. The choices and the hard work have been theirs all along and I believe I have been merely reflecting in their glory because,perhaps, somewhere along the way I have given up my own dreams. Somewhere in the process of celebrating the birth of new child, parents should receive a book (yet to be written) entitled, “Get a Life”. At least, I wish my husband and I had received one.
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