“Little eyes are always watching.”
These gentle words of wisdom were cast out by the principal at my daughter’s elementary school on Open House night.
A true statement. One I’ve never forgotten. One that has served as a constant reminder to put my best foot forward around my kids. I wanted to show them how to behave, how to treat others and how to reach for their dreams.
That last one, though, was the toughest.
In my twenties, I was a real go-getter. Everything changed at the age of thirty with my first baby. Work promotions and my thriving career took the third row seat in the minivan, trumped by the safety, security and happiness of my kids. It was a different dream, one not nearly that impressive or obvious to my children. Sure, I’d share stories about the “old” me, the one who reached for the brass ring of college and career success. But their day-to-day mom wore sweatpants and would often forego makeup. Not too impressive.
In fact, my adjusted outlook on life never bothered me until my oldest started to look at colleges.
While she prepared for the start of her journey into young adulthood, I was reminded of my own zest for life at her age. Hadn’t I once had loftier goals?
The truth, I finally admitted, was that with age came a fear of trying anything new. Thank God my daughter’s enthusiastic outlook on the future was contagious. In spite of my fears, I figured if she could tromp off to a new place, I could take a few baby-steps toward bigger goals, too. That’s when I started a second career as a writer.
Five years later, I still marvel at how my darling daughters show bravery and courage with every event they undertake. They show me their limitless desire to learn, to step out for a cause they believe in and to take a chance in life. Because of watching them, I’ve raised the bar of my comfort level and taken on tasks previously too daunting to think about.
This week, they’ve wowed me again. One just left on a year-long journey clear across the country. The other called from college two days ago, begging to spend a month in Madagascar to study animal life. Her ‘pro’ argument was, and I quote, “Hear me out. I know you’re thinking Africa is scary but the teacher said they only had one coup in all the years she’s gone.”
Um, isn’t one coup enough for a mother to say no? Actually, no. Because then I’d squash her dream.
They inspire me to embrace rather than fear the new opportunities and successes I’ve encountered along the way in my new career. Especially when it’s darn hard to put yourself out there some days. But my old, tired eyes are always watching them and drawing encouragement from the things they do.
Have your children taught you a lesson lately?