I’m sitting here watching my daughter clean up her play room and I am in love. I am constantly amazed at the concept of having brought another human being into this world and being responsible for her. I am awestruck that just four years ago, there was just me and FuBu in this house, and suddenly one day, another person was in the next room. She looks to her parents for every bit of guidance and is learning about every little thing that makes the world tick. What an incredible journey life must be for her! As adults, we become so jaded and cynical, and we forget that every day brings new wonders into a growing child’s life. That’s the miracle of childhood.
FuBu often says about DQ (with fierce pride), “I honestly believe that she could grow up to be anything in the world.” We all want the best opportunities for our children. FuBu and I are trying hard not to define those opportunities; we really want her to work with a blank slate (until she tells us she wants to be a waitress for a living, I suppose).
I recall my mother expressing a desire for me to be a brain surgeon (yes, it was pretty specific). I didn’t have the heart to tell her that, at the time, my favourite class was journalism. Without having ever taken a physics or chemistry class in my life, there was no hope in hell I’d ever reach her goal. I knew after ninth grade that science was not for me. So I compromised and met her halfway: instead of being a starving journalist or a very wealthy brain surgeon, I’d become a successful business person of some kind.
She seemed satisfied enough that all her long hours working for nominal wages in garment factories to put me through school paid off in the end. I understand that what she and my father wanted most was for their children to not live a life of hardship; all they did in their adult life was work for me and my brothers. If we were ever living from meal to meal, I certainly never felt it. We were never wanting for anything, certainly not the basics of life. And that is the miracle of parenthood. I mean, we didn’t go on European vacations and study at Ivy League schools either, but isn’t it the case that you don’t know what you’re missing if you’ve never experienced it?
I hope that DQ will feel the same way when she’s an adult. We may not be able to afford to send her to Harvard (because that’s my personal dream for her, but it’s not about me), but I hope to open every opportunity for her to experience new things and to see what sticks. And today, I see that as her greatest strength in her four short years on this earth: she has shown unbridled enthusiasm for trying new and different things and I can see her soaking up what teachers and coaches are saying to her; she is so eager to learn. These are truly the wonder years and I feel so blessed to be able to watch from the sidelines.