Friday, May 11, 2012

running, jumping and growing up

I watched my daughter's track meet this week. I can't help but be impressed by her ability, her competitiveness, her maturity and her loyalty to her team.

She loves everything about it: the running, the competition, the ability to socialize during a sporting event, and I think she even likes the drama (she's in middle school so it's all drama, all the time).

Since her events involve timing and that's up my husband's alley, he's the designated timer for her. He gathers her times and compares them to nationwide data ... I guess she is pretty good. That's not my gig, so I just keep cheering her on. Besides, I also appreciate the ability to socialize during a sporting event.

While waiting for Ana after the meet, I caught a moment in another family's life. A daughter, much like my own, was standing next to her father who had his arm around her. He said, over and over: "I'm so proud of you. You did a great job. I'm just so proud of you."

She stood in his partial embrace and drank that moment in, smiling and looking way more comfortable than most middle schoolers do when they're talking to their parents.

It made me wonder if maybe they don't see each other that often. Or maybe they do, maybe every day.

I wondered how often he told his daughter he was proud of her. Maybe not that often, or maybe every day.

Mostly though, I wondered whether I had told Ana that I was proud of her, or if my husband had told her that. Because we all know when mom says something, it's okay, but if dad does? It means something special.

A daughter might forget her time in the mile when she was 11. She might even forget the friends who ran the relay with her. And, with any luck she'll forget the middle school drama. But she won't ever forget those moments, like the one right after the meet when her Daddy tells her that he was so proud.

It made me want to say to her, my daughter, and all daughters:

Drink this moment in, girl. Remember it when other girls are mean to you and you start to feel as if maybe they're right.

Drink in his words, girl. Remember them when you flip through a magazine and can't see yourself in its pages.

Drink in that hug, girl. Remember it when some boy tells you he loves you.

Drink in that feeling girl, Remember it when your father doesn't live up to some unrealistic expectations you have for him.

Drink in this moment, girl. Remember it when you're telling your children about your father, who maybe won't meet him.

Drink it in. And never, ever forget it.


Ruth said...

Great post! It is so important for us to tell kids that we love them and are proud of them. Thanks for the reminder!

Carol Sc said...

Pretty deep thinking, Eileen --- and, right on! I'm practicing on grandchildren now, and hope I always encouraged our children, too, as they dealt with success and disappointment.