“It’s not walking away when a mirror is held up in front of you and you see how much you are ruled by the expectations of society instead of what your desires are and the needs of your family.”
A few months into my parenting journey, this quote from Mayim Bialik really hit home for me. My daughter is my mirror, the most beautiful and enlightening mirror I’ve ever encountered, and we’ve spent the last year and a half studying each other intently.
She isn’t the mirror I expected. For reasons I’ve discovered were very much misguided, I expected my baby to come out like the stereotypical baby—you know, the one in all the movies—the easy baby. Instead, my baby turned out a lot like me.
She has, since conception, taken almost every opportunity to remind me how plans are meant to flex and how expectations are meant to be managed.
She has given me the courage to confront fears, attitudes and best of all, conventional wisdom. She has unapologetically shown me (and those closest to me) that my instincts and the needs of my family—above anything and all else—should be honored, trusted and guarded. She may not be easy, but she has accomplished a great deal in her 28 month tenure.
Having the privilege of studying children for a living, I know that every child has a story to share, a valuable lesson to teach. But now I have an even clearer view of the incredible language of the tiniest being—a secret of sorts that no book, no expert, well-meaning relative or even neuroscientist could decipher without deliberate, accepting observation.
Yes, my daughter is my mirror, a magnificently flawed reflection uniting me and my husband, those who came before, those who may come after, and the unique spirit within her.
She is a wiser perspective from which better ideas can bloom. While some days, many days, the challenges have tied the rewards, I’m so grateful for the lessons, the story she shares. Perhaps that’s how it’s meant to be, how the world turns—the moon a reflection of the sun, attempting to ease us into a perfectly certain future but sometimes, out of sheer necessity, jolting us from a comfortable spot.
Tasha C. Ring is a lifelong Midwesterner who for the past decade has enjoyed the privilege of working with children and their families in her roles as educator, advocate and small business owner. She and her husband live happily (most of the time) in their project-ridden house with their two greatest gifts—senior pug and spirited toddler.
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