I never thought that anybody could make me so proud that my eyes filled up with tears. But my oldest daughter did just that today.
Alisha, as you may have read in my advice, is a bit delayed in her speech and has been attending a Kindergarten especially targeted towards these needs. All the parents have the privilege of watching the class for a few hours, to observe the way that the centre works and the type of attention that the teachers give to the children.
As I sat and watched my daughter participate, I thought about how proud I was of Alisha. I saw her face light up, her enthusiasm, her willingness to participate; I couldn’t believe that she was MY daughter.
And then I remembered back to when we’re at home; her fussiness when she eats, her lack of attention span; and it made me so feel guilty inside. Sometimes you forget that children are just that: children. Yes, we all know what it’s like; the child who climbs into your bed at 4am, the child who only eats the pasta but not the vegetables, the child who continues to play around when you tell them to pack up.
But as I watched my daughter joining in with her friends, I didn’t see that child. I saw a child who despite her speech difficulties, her inability to communicate; be the best she could be, and then all those other things just didn’t matter anymore.
Before I had my children, I never believed I would be particularly maternal, nor did I believe I would not be. I always knew I wanted plenty of children, but the love I feel for my children now is so much deeper than I thought it would and could ever be. From the moment you look into their eyes for the first time, you experience a love that is stronger than you could ever know.
And I guess the important thing is to realise that although children can be fussy, they can test your limits, your patience; there is so much more to them than that. From a drawing that they’ve done or their name that they’ve written, they can make you so very proud. And it’s those things that should matter.
I know from experience that all I ever wanted was for my parents to be proud of me, even if I didn’t follow the path that they wanted or accomplish all the things that they had in store for me. I just wanted them to love me. And when you become a parent, you realise that although your children are a product of yours, they most definitely are not you. They have their own personality, their own opinions, their own views; and sometimes that won’t match up to what you expect or want from them.
But do you stop loving them? No you don’t. I can’t promise that I’ll agree with every decision that my children make, but I can promise to try my best to support them in whatever path they follow in life. Because that is what loving your children is about. It’s not necessarily about agreeing with them, it’s about supporting them.
And when I remember back to when I watched Alisha in class, I can’t imagine being more proud of her than I already am. If she can come home with a ‘Mother’s Day’ gift for me and bring tears to my eyes; I’m sure that anything she accomplishes in her life, will do just the same.