I was really very fearful that I would mess up and they would not get into the university of their choice because I missed some opportunity to challenge them and help them grow.
My children, I am certain, were thinking, "Lady, take a Valium." I wasn't quite this woman, but I came dangerously close.
Fast forward a few years and I am now the mother of 3 and I swear to you people, I barely recognize the woman raising Eva. She looks like me: messy hair, flip flops, giant sunglasses, but she is a little more relaxed and not quite so insistent on doing.the.right.thing. She laughs a lot more.
Pringles potato chips for breakfast? Meh, not the best, not the worst, she'll be fine. Afternoon spent watching the same Max and Ruby DVD over and over again... it's good to have quiet days. Naps? They may or may not happen... depends on what else we have going on...
I have never taken Eva to the park unless we are waiting for one of the boys to wrap up a tennis or karate lesson. She goes several times a week with her nanny and has a whole little posse of toddler buddies that I wouldn't know if I fell over. And I don't care. I did sign her up for dance class and we very dutifully go on Thursday mornings to hop like bunny rabbits with Miss Linda who is a much nicer lady now that she has been introduced to the wonders of Prozac. We spin around with tiaras on our heads and do the Mashed Potato and generally enjoy the hell out of ourselves for 45 minutes. Then, we go out to lunch. We share french fries.
I don't worry about her and my failing her in the same way that I did about Jake and Jack. I know this child is a survivor. She thrived in her foster home. She came to us healthy and confident and that was from love and nurturing... not special toys and floor time. Eva reminded me that parenting isn't a contest with a finish line... it is an on-going and constant state of life and there are many ways to do it and do it well.
So I parented my boys differently. And they are lovely and charming and I didn't mess them up too much with my own neuroses. I was different then. Younger, insecure in my abilities as a mother and desperate and determined to do things right. Then, as a gift, my daughter came along to show me that there is no right way... there is just being their mom.
And we are happy.
someone put this child to bed... napping on the floor in her too big for her outfit... some mother's have no shame!