Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Charming Puzzle

One of my dearest loves has just been crowned Miss Hampshire High 2013.  I am proud of her drive and am utterly struck by her beauty and charm.  In fact, I have always felt this way.  When she was only 13-months-old, her dad and I were caught in a smooth and sun-drenched moment, a moment in which all things vanished from our world except this tiny, teeny, brown-eyed girl.  We stood, dumbstruck, entranced.  I don't remember the circumstances, and I do not think they're important.  I remember the moment; and I remember my words to her dad:  "Could she possibly know how charming she is?"  In some toddler way, I am sure she did.

I flash forward and ask myself the same question--could she possibly know?  When I was seventeen, I was funny and smart and adorable and very able to engage and manipulate the people in my world.  (I am not necessarily proud of this.)  But I was not charming.  At least, not this charming.  I have puzzled over my daughter's presence, over her character and the dazzle in her eye.  Over her confidence and her innate sense of social parameters.  Since I have never (EVER!) had a clear understanding of social parameters, and my husband's seem way too restricting to me, how did our child come to this place?  I guess she observed both of us and unwittingly embraced, combined, sorted, and tossed, and became herself.

In considering the outcome, and the other people we have raised, I can also say with confidence that you get out what you put in--a huge component.  Our children have never been our idols, but we do enjoy and include them.  We spend time with them and try to support them in reasonable endeavors.  We are not their pals, but we are also not the police.  We try and try and try and try.  We totally mess up in much of the trying, but have succeeded, I feel, pouring into each one the certainty of our love.

Perhaps that's where the confidence behind our daughter's charm comes in.  She knows that we love her and that her mother would stomp anyone who would treat her unjustly.  In closing, may we all learn to walk that oft' hazy line between building confidence in our dearest loves, and turning them into monsters.  

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