When I arrived at my in-laws house to pick up my children after a long day at work, Wendy was beaming. She was so excited to show me her new trick: grandpa had taught her how to tie her own shoes! It slapped me in the face and made me re-think my life. All at once I felt proud, overwhelmingly gratitude and ...and (I guess the only way to describe it would be) sadness. I was so proud of her careful determination and drive to get it right. I felt overwhelming gratitude for a child who is developing at a healthy rate, for the chance that I get to watch her grow and discover the world around her, for in-laws who take such wonderful care of my children while I can't. But then... I felt a sting. The sting of sadness that she is growing up too fast. And selfishly sad that it wasn't me who taught her.
I guess as far ahead as she is, I'm just as far behind. I wouldn't have even tried to teach her for another year or so... maybe when I noticed all my friends teaching their kids her age or a note came home from school suggesting it was time. It makes me feel like a lazy, disconnected parent. So I'm not going to underestimate her anymore. Maybe tomorrow I'll teach her how to drive stick.