Today she ran into the house beaming, squeezing me tight as I cradled phone to ear. "U COUNT won!" She had pitched modern day slavery to her class as a group project and convinced enough students to make it through round one. My heart. My passion. Hers?
And weeks earlier, different daughter. Chose me as a family member who had shaped her because she, too, wants to be a photographer. Wore my non-profit shirt and trendy hat, emulating me.
We argue and I elicit stomping glares. I scold and correct and focus on too many faults, too many flaws, too many failures. And my own are so great they swell to regret as I recount the day, sleep eluding me. This has been my pattern of motherhood. Many a day concludes with calculations of future therapy costs. Many a morning begins with new resolutions.
But today? Today I wonder at what they absorb and who they want to become. Me?
There is no greater honor than to be imitated.
We popped into the National Gallery of Art over Spring Break and literally sped through Monet and Manet, Renoir, Cassatt. Shame, I know! Unable to appreciate what they saw, the girls paused at a copyist, canvas on easel, brush in hand, and eye trained to the famous work before her. A tour guide passed with schoolchildren and we overheard, "Everyday, copyists are in the museum to imitate the work of the great artists, to learn and become better themselves. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery."
I think this when I pursue justice. God is just and loves justice. And when I choose grace, I have been showered with his grace. And I know that God smiles at my imitation, my attempts to emulate. His passion, his heart. Mine.
To be granted the honor of imitation by my own daughters stuns and humbles me.
I have begun my endeavor of ushering my oldest daughter through the transition to womanhood. The book stack has grown and a sketch is made, including the culmination trip which will blow her mind and submerge her into my passions. I'm not ashamed of discipling her to love what I love, to care for exploited girls and learn from heroines and reclaim the glory for which she was created. I know its a scaffolding upon which she will hang her own interests, talents, and passions.
There might have been tears the day before the art gallery as we approached the Washington Monument and I might have walked off muttering she is so difficult! But today's glimpse was a peak into where all this mothering is going, giving me hope that I'm on the right path. If nothing else, it confirms that I care deeply enough about something that it oozes into the everyday, spilling forth and leaving a scent worth following.
Let us not fear, as mothers of daughters, that we are impressing too much upon them. Let us not reserve our greatest offerings in deference to the notion that our job is to merely fan the flame of our children's unique talents. Is the stress of the modern family partially a result of mothers catering to this idea that their sole calling is to help their children discover and excel at theirs? Both the imparting of our own passions and the nurturing of our daughter's are necessary.
Do you have a passion that a watching and moldable girl might emulate?