…My toddler exclaimed, in a serious tone that we, adults, typically use when we declare a life-changing decision. You can almost hear the follow-up “you watch me, I’m really gonna do it”.
There is a hint of confidence in that tone. Sometimes reinforced by a nod. Like when you just convinced yourself that you’re finally going to do something that you know will scare your wits out. “Yes, I’m going to skydive. That’s right!”. This was the tone I had in my mind when I made that decision. (That’s for the next summer.)
My toddler said it while I set up her Playdoh on the table. It sounded like a serious promise. And that tone just made me feel proud all of a sudden. It’s as if she just told me “I’m going to make a big difference in this world, Mama.”
I know that in my toddler’s innocent mind, she’s just stating that she intends to create something out of her Playdoh. But in my complex mind, where nothing is simply as it seems, there is a deeper realization that I actually don’t need much from my kids to be proud of them. That they can be whoever they want to be, do what they want to do, out of their lives, and I’d still be proud. For as long as they are “being” and they are “doing” and making and creating from their good hearts. They may not mean much to the whole world, but in their Mama’s eyes, they are the greatest things in the world.
And this quick epiphany led me to finally grasp what my parents always tell me when I ask them what they want for Christmas or when I tell them I’d like to give something back to them for everything they’ve done for me. They tell me they don’t want anything really, just as long as I’m doing ok. I finally got it. For a parent, no material gift can bring as much joy as seeing a child do something good out of their life. All the sacrifices and the hardships raising your child, they all become worthwhile when you see your child loving life and making something out of it. The diploma, the medals and trophies, the position, the career, the wealth –they’re just icing on the cake. The real deal? The attitude, the character, the values.
To my children,
I’ll be proud if you become a doctor.
I’ll be prouder if you become compassionate.
I’ll be proud if you become rich and successful.
I’ll be prouder if you become enriching and uplifting.
I’ll be proud if you become world-renowned.
I’ll be prouder if you become aware of the world.
Whatever it will be, your Mama will be the proudest.
//Reflections from the Playtable