By k.m. cole
Every day, there is something that my daughters have come up with or done that I marvel at. Usually it catches me completely off guard and, a lot of the time, it leaves me smiling. I like to sit back and watch how they are growing into their own. I do admit that I try to intervene at times, offering my “solid” and experienced advice. But typically I am shooed away so they can carry on.
Many days while I look on, I either wish that I could do what they are doing or I could be back at that age. Here are some of the top items that make my list:
10. I wish I had Sophie’s knack for accessorizing. I was quite the tomboy while growing up and even now I prefer a comfy pair of jeans, sweatshirt and to top the look either my Vans or Chuck Taylors. I am perplexed as to where Sophie developed the skills to pick out all the right accessories to wear with each outfit. She rarely leaves the house without the perfect necklace, a few bracelets, a headband or bow or even a tiara and a few rings to complete the look. This may seem a bit much, but she manages to pull it all together and look cute. At least once a week she asks me how old she has to be to wear high heels and this usually is taking place while I struggle to get her into sneakers because she has gym that day. She is confident in her choices and that also amazes me, because it could take me days thinking of the right outfit to wear to an upcoming event. One day, not too far off, I will be looking to her for fashion advice.
9. Katherine’s ability to focus. I used to think I was so focused on any task I was working on. I now can see that I do not have that focus and actually, when working on a task, I tend to focus on the other tasks that need to be done or ones that may be upcoming. Katherine loses sight of her surroundings, because she is so focused on what is before her. She has been this way as long as I can remember. She could sit for an hour working on a puzzle or reading. She doesn’t take a break and come back to something; she has the drive to sit there, focus and get the job done. I wish I could focus on just one thing and not be distracted by so many other things going on in my day, week or month. I think if I were to allow myself to focus the way that she does, the work I put forth would be so much better.
8. Katherine’s love of math and science. I am sure that Katherine takes after her dad in these subjects. I watch her complete math levels online at Khan Academy and I am speechless that this child is comprehending math equations that look foreign to me. I think the most amazing part to this is that she is enjoying it. I do not enjoy math, and I am sure that is because I don’t understand it a lot of the time beyond ‘simple’ math. Right now, Katherine is interested in learning about all sciences. She really likes to learn about space and rockets right now, but then there are days she wants to bring out the microscope and look at various things under the slides. She wants to learn more, and I am quite sure that my math skills will only go so far before I am unable to keep up with her at the rate she is going.
7. Sophie’s artistic talent. Sophie had a method of coloring starting back when she first was making scribble art. She didn’t seem to be just scribbling; they were like little abstract pieces of scribble art. When she started working in coloring books she was very precise about using the right colors and staying within the lines. I can color in a pretty good Minnie Mouse, but to freehand draw is beyond me. Sophie loves to have a blank piece of paper in front of her to blend colors together. She isn’t really drawing anything; just blending colors and sometimes she will add a few shapes. It works though. I think my problem is that I put too much energy into finding the right item to draw, and the pressure to make it right overrides everything. Sophie grabs a piece of paper and gets to work; whether she has an idea in mind I do not know, but she works fast and before I know it I have another Sophie Masterpiece to adorn the fridge.
6. Their innocence in the way they approach life. I don’t know when we start to lose this part of ourselves; when we start seeing the world without the rose colored glasses. I think it happens gradually. They don’t have negative thoughts taking over and influencing their decisions. Watching them is so refreshing, and it makes me wish I could move through my day in the same way. I don’t want them to lose this innocence and begin to see the world in a negative light and fear what may be ahead. I know they will see and experience things that will chip away at the innocence, but I will try my best to encourage them to focus on the good and surround themselves with that. I find that I don’t always do this but, with their help, that may change.
5. Sophie’s carefree spirit. What I wouldn’t give to have a little bit of that spirit she possesses. I had it once, but then I allowed the responsibilities of life to get in my way. I wrote in an earlier article how Sophie pirouettes through her day looking for rainbows and butterflies. She is definitely a breath of fresh air. When we talk about her day, she flits from one thing to the next, sharing each joy she has encountered. She is such a positive little force of energy, and I want to protect that and I also want it to rub off on me. I get so caught up in the daily list of things to be done that I create and I forget to stop and enjoy. I need to stop myself and get lost in the moment with Sophie and maybe try a few pirouettes; it wouldn’t hurt.
4. Katherine’s voice. She doesn’t always sing, so you can hear, but when she does I wonder where she learned to carry a tune. I find myself mouthing the words to hymns during church because I am very self-conscious when I sing. Katherine will sing while practicing her piano lessons and she can catch herself being off-tune and fix it. I love to sing in the car, and the girls always beg me to stop from their car seats. Sometimes I do, and other times I sing really off base just to amuse them.
3. These girls can dance. They love to dance around and make up their own moves. Once again, I find myself very self-conscious in doing this. If I throw on an 80s CD, they are breaking out the best dance moves and trying to sing along. I love that they don’t think about people watching them and they are free with their movement. I think the last time I danced with such abandonment was in my 20s, and there were probably a few adult beverages consumed to give me that added courage.
2. Katherine can make armpit farts. Yes, I am quite jealous that my oldest child can make the best armpit farts – ever. This is a talent that I will never have; regardless of the numerous attempts have made. At a young age I was quite fascinated when one of my peers could elicit the most perfect fart noise from their armpit. One day, two years ago, Katherine came home from kindergarten eagerly wanting to share with me what she learned she could do that day. After a flawless performance I was speechless and couldn’t stop praising her. I was completely in awe and still am. I have complimented her many times, and I can see the pride in her eyes at being able to do something I cannot. It is those little things that will hopefully stick with her and, hopefully, also the memory of watching her mother try to make just the tiniest noise come from her armpit, only to fail each time.
1. The way they love me…flaws and all. Every day I am left wondering what I did to deserve the love of these two girls. Yes, I am their mother, but I admit that I am not a perfect mother. I yell and I give them time outs and I let work take priority; I feel guilty each and every time. But each night, as I tuck them into their beds, they tell me they love me as they kiss and hug me. I know as an adult how hard it is to love or even like someone if you know all their flaws. Sometimes those overshadow everything. Their love is like so many of the other items I have listed above. They love with all they have and without any hesitation or judgment. They love me.
There are so many other things my girls do better than I do. But it isn’t just them whom I am filled with wonder and astonishment over, but also the children of my friends. When I see posts on Facebook showcasing what one has done, I am genuinely excited for them and know how proud the parents must be for what their kids have accomplished. Kids today have so many more advantages and there is so much available to them. I love to see them utilize it and show what they can do. Kids are so awesome and of course I am going to favor mine, because, well they are mine. They are so fun and I get such joy watching them discover their world each day. They make me want to be not just a better mom, but a better person.