Thursday, September 13, 2007
Every child's life is like a piece of paper
On which every person leaves a mark.
--- Chinese Proverb
As a fairly new parent, I often think about how my actions and example are affecting my daughter. How I am responsible for helping her grow into a happy, well-adjusted adult. I think parenthood has made me a better person because I am now living a life of example. So, as I try to live a purposeful life, I often think of the adults from my childhood who helped form me.
My godmother, Lenore, is in town visiting for my brother's wedding. She and my mother have been best friends since junior high. She will be staying at my house in a few days and so she has been on my mind. I don't think she realizes the extent of how much she effected me as a child. Visits from Lenore were exotic, filled with love and stories of distant places and I couldn't wait until she came over.
I remember when I was a toddler and she was going to graduate to school. I even have a toddler size college sweatshirt from her. I was very young, but it must have had some effect on me because I am one of the first people in my family to have an advanced degree.
Lenore hasn't married nor had children. She had a successful career as an RN and traveled extensively. She always dresses impeccably. Suits and career clothes and accessories. She was so glamorous to me. I even went through a stage when I was 10 where I loved to wear a plaid blazer and a skirt and it was because I was trying to emulate her style. I always accessorized the blazer with a necklace from her.
For most of my childhood, my mom stayed home with me. It was an important job to raise 4 children and my mom did it well. But I think it was just as important that I had the opportunity to see the other option women had. That you didn't have to get married or have children. That you could have a successful career that also gave you the means and time to travel. Lenore gave me this example and to a certain extent, I spent the first 35 years of my life living that life. I did get married, but didn't want children and my husband & I traveled the world. I knew this was a perfectly acceptable life to live because of my godmother's influence.
I remember receiving a doll from Germany from her after she went on trip there. I promised myself then that I would see Europe. 20 some years later, I remembered that I made that promise to myself as I stood in Hamburg. At the time of Lenore's trip, neither of parents had been to Europe. I wonder if I would have had the desire to travel if I hadn't had the early example of my traveling godmother?
Now, I am home with my daughter. My traveling days have been pared down. But I will always be thankful for the example Lenore gave me. The seeds that she planted grew into a very important time in my life. I'm so excited for my daughter to meet her.