How can it be that an almost 8-year-old already possesses all of the qualities I have yet to find in myself? How can it be that my young daughter is a better person than me? How can it be that the person I admire most in this world is 26 years my junior?
I may be astonished by this, but I am not complaining. Not one ounce of me is embarrassed by this. I could not be prouder of the fact that my little girl is already everything I have wanted to be my whole life.
Why you ask? What is it about her? I'll happily tell you.
Her confidence. It is unbroken, yet to be tarnished (god willing never will be) and completely self-generated.
Her innocence. She adorns it well and allows it to shield her from others' ever-present pessimism.
Her personality. Which you can't help but notice immediately and for which she never apologizes for.
Her zest for life. It is her trying to get every ounce of excitement and learning from each experience and activity she engages in.
Her yearning for adventure. Sparked and encouraged by her father, it is her desire to seek the journey, accept it and find a way to enjoy each part of it.
Her bravery. It is her willingness to get on stage and dance in front of hundreds of people with no care as to how her dance makes them feel, only how it makes her feel.
Her kindness. It is her welcoming, endearing and generous nature towards those that she knows and those that she doesn't.
Her intelligence and her hard work. It is her thirst for knowledge and the motivation and effort she maintains while gathering such.
Her heart; which is both strong, yet soft. It is her ability to show strength when and towards whom it is needed, but to maintain an endearing naivety and gentleness, simultaneously.
Her willingness to be flexible. It is the fact that she is able to adapt to and navigate unfamiliar or unexpected situations without it becoming a stressor for her.
Her compassion. It is her tenderness towards me and her father, her siblings and others who love her.
Her understanding. Her absolute and somewhat uncanny ability to consistently exude situational awareness, situational acceptance, and act on her awareness of others' need in any given moment.
Her sympathy and empathy for other people. It is her warmth towards her friends and strangers, that is not commonly exemplified by the general public these days.
Her curiosity. It is her inquisitiveness regarding anything and everything that is of interest to her.
Her strength. Which is quite possibly a byproduct of nature and nurture and which shows itself in her patience, in her persistence, in her thoughts and in her overall character.
Her passion. For her family, for her friends, for school and for her dance.
Her drive. To not be the best, but to do her best in absolutely anything she tries, which impressively always puts near the top.
Some people search all their lives to find themselves, while others search all of their lives to find another person to look up to; someone to aspire to be like. I, myself, have been lucky enough to be blessed with a daughter who I look up to and who I aspire to be like.
I am also grateful that spending every day with her, as her mother, is helping me to find myself—the best version of myself.
I've always been someone who is consistently looking to better myself and I have, for a very long time, looked to outside sources for inspiration, motivation and suggestions. Yet, oddly enough, even more than all my "self-help" books, what has contributed to any part of my personal improvement is this young lady.
Some might read this post and say that this is a tribute to my daughter. Some may read the post and see it as a tribute to myself, contending that I should get the credit for raising her to be who she is today.
Here’s what I think --
Rita Pierson has said, "Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be." I agree with this.
But, I also believe that every adult deserves a champion—a child who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists they become the best that they can possibly be.
A thank you to my oldest daughter, Payton, for being the best she can possibly be and for being my champion.