Following my dreams, while supporting my daughters in the creation of their own, has offered the greatest lessons of 2016. I have no fancy words or Oprah-esque epiphanies to share with you. Our lessons have come with blood (literally), sweat, and too many tears and fears.
My daughters, ages 3 & 9, have watched me soar and plummet. They’ve watched me take on too much and not enough.They’ve witnessed my victories and my meltdowns.
This fact would often send me into overwhelming guilt. One day, however, my oldest said to me, “Mommy, I want to be just like you when I grow up.” It took superhuman restraint to not ask if she were insane! I wanted to question her judgement and reasoning. I felt the need to reprimand her for setting her standards so… low.
Evidently (and thankfully), my spirit wasn’t having that! I was internally reprimanded by the Queen within. She showed me the truth and I’ll never turn away from it.
I was shown that my kids don’t see a mom who fails. They see a woman who has the courage to stand up again after every blow. My daughters see a woman small in stature, but who has the heart of David to tackle any Goliath. They watch me take on multitudes of daily tasks, love their father infinitely, beast-mode at my computer to accomplish my goals, attend every practice/game/story time/music class/school event possible, and more importantly, they watch me prioritize my health and sanity by exercising, taking breaks, and asking for help when necessary.
My oldest, Alora, has made clear her desire to be a “soccer star.” She wants to be a great player and that goal is evident in her actions. She walks around our house with that dang soccer ball between her feet every day. It especially drives me crazy when we’re rushing to get out the door but her passion & dedication excite me!
I believe in her dream, but my excitement stems from her dedication to her goal. Even after getting knocked down, kicked in the face, and bruised in the sport she loves, she gets back on the field; truly a metaphor for life! That same passion and dedication, coupled with her enthusiasm, will lead her to achieve anything she chooses to work for.
I do my best to teach my girls to pursue their dreams head on. When facing fear or doubt, we move forward together, knowing that the hope and positive energy from our family is there to back us up. And when the journey forces tears from our eyes, we find ourselves equipped with encouragement already tucked into our spirits. It’s the process that causes growth and that one learns to appreciate. Not the destination.
I’m honored to be on my children’s support team. The way my oldest looks for me on the sidelines moves me inside. It’s as if one reassuring look from me heals her wounds and gives her divine confidence. It’s in her voice when she tells me about a mistake she’s made. Although she may be nervous about admitting her mistake, she feels comfortable telling me because she knows I’ll love her just the same. It’s in her smile when she’s proud of herself for achieving a goal or scoring a point because she knows there’s no
louder greater cheering squad than her family!
I'm not sure what my youngest will choose to pursue. I'm almost impatient to find out what her dreams consist of. Her interest are evolving and I already have our vehicles gassed up to hit the road! Whatever the dream/goal, I and the rest of the family, will have her back. My girls know there's no limit to how BIG they dream as long as they're willing to put in the time and effort.
When our children fall down, we have to give them space to figure out the way back to their feet. After making mistakes, they need our forgiveness to learn how to forgive themselves. We can be there to offer a helping hand, but we can’t always rescue them. I truly don’t think that’s our purpose as parents. If we’re lucky, we learn that our purpose resides on the sidelines.
The sideline is where we ultimately do our best work. It is where miracles happen and dreams are realized (even if they aren’t our own). I’m the star of my own journey, but in those of my daughters, I’m happy to be cheering them on because I get a front row seat. And when I’m no longer here physically, I hope they will always look to the sidelines and know I’m there in spirit.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.