I'm thinking back to the early years and how much I loved being at home with them. I cherished structuring our day with play, learning and friends. It was a job to me. One I loved and was very passionate about, but the most important job I had ever had, or would have.
Among the many things I wanted to impart on our girls was a sense of confidence in themselves and their abilities; therefore they were exposed to a lot of learning opportunities masked as play so they could always feel comfortable. For example learning to skate, swim play a musical instrument, and another language. I had always felt that given the right tools most kids could make it in this world. Having spent so much time working with youth, I saw lack of confidence came often with lack of knowledge. Feeling foolish for instance because all your friends were skating but you didn't know how. Those were the easy lessons. Important but easy. What wasn't so easy was the one thing I wanted to impart the most, and that was resilience.
I have always felt resilience is the one thing that can get you through life when nobody else can help. If you have that you can make it.
In the past year we have been thanked by both of our daughters in different ways,for teaching them what a sense of resilience can do for them. It turns out that the years of wanting to impart it on them wasn't in vein. They did get it, but it was also reinforced by watching us. They said my health issues has shown them in both their Mom and Dad what resilience looks like. Me pushing on and doing everything in my power to recover, and their Dad being the husband and Father who keeps it light, but devotes everything he has to family in their time of need. So you see, sometimes there is a silver lining; we demonstrated in a positive way the very thing we wanted them to have without even knowing we were doing that.
It was obvious however to both their Dad and I how much they had already had. Jerri had started her career in an intensive neonatal unit by day and visiting me in a hospital by night; and Meghan working in a lab and lake in Sudbury all week long then driving to Toronto every weekend to see me. They were strong, added levity, humour and caring, and made their parents so proud. Sometimes it takes a lot for us to see what gifts we have imparted onto our children but it doesn't have it. If you parent with intention then you must trust it is already there.