Nobody tells you before you have children how joyful and painful it can be to share in your child's successes and failures. Or, maybe they could tell you if they really could explain. It is something hard to accurately put into words.
It's also very fun to watch you slowly and gradually turn into your own person with all sorts of elements and subtleties that emerge at random points along the way.
Recently, you attended a birthday party --- at a SKATING RINK.
Now, mind you, I remembered what a terrible time you had on your one and only skating excursion. It was at the ice rink at Curry Village in Yosemite Valley. You were about 6.
Looking back, we were probably too cruel to think you could be thrown out on the ice with us and just take off skating. It's a very challenging endeavor! You cried and cried but refused to give up. You went around the entire rink, holding on to the walls - crying! – and then proceeded to beat yourself up (figuratively, of course) about your skating skills after it was over.
Of course we explained to you that everyone skates like that on their first try, that you were such a trooper and tried so hard and could take lessons, if you wanted! Well, you’d have none of that.
So, when the invitation arrived for the party some weeks ago, I cringed. I worried. I wondered if you would feel nervous and self-conscious. Of course I knew you'd pick it up in no time, but I worried about how YOU would feel about yourself.
I didn't say a thing. I put on brave Mom face and when the party came around we got your skates on - I gave you a few pointers and off you went.
When I left you were slowly making your way around the rink, holding on to the sides. You were very earnest and determined.
I loved you so much at that moment, watching you bravely persevere.
When I came back you were relaxing with your friends eating birthday cake and pizza. Then, out you went on the skating rink - no wall! You were awesome! You were skating on your own! I was so proud of you.
But what made me happiest was hearing you be proud of yourself: "I started off by holding on to the wall, but then I had to go around someone. I ended up in the middle of the rink - and I almost fell down! So, I just looked around me at how everyone else was skating and I copied what they were doing." You are so smart. And you didn't give up.
On the way home you announced that you wanted your next party at the skating rink. :)
One more note: Tonight you just gave your sister one of your Captain Underpants books because she wanted one so bad - to keep! [truth is you had two copies, but still] In between the squabbling I can see you building a bond with her, one I never had with my brothers. I am so grateful for that. I even heard you say to her on the trampoline tonight that you loved her. Yes, it's true. :)
Please, keep it up. In the end these are the things that matter - the only things really.