I don't find that there are many concrete benchmarks for determining if you are raising your child well. As far as I can tell, you do the best you can and keep your fingers crossed that you'll come out on the other side of 18 in one piece.
I'd like to think that watching your child slowly spread out into other worlds that you are not a part of, and seeing them do this confidently, is one of those signs that tell you as a parent you're doing just fine. Along with spreading their wings, realizing that your child is suddenly capable of doing things that you can not do is another tiny step in the right direction.
If these observations are true, then I observed two things this weekend which made me think we must be doing something right around here. Number one, Elena started playing around with Photoshop. It took me over a year to figure out the very basics, and in two days she's already figured out layers. Soon she'll be editing all my photos and designing headers for the blog.
Number two is this:
The kid is a knitting maniac. Sitting down, standing up, in the car, on the couch . . . she's probably knitting right now, in her sleep. Ladies and gentleman, I can not knit. I had no hand in this. She picked up the basics from my sister Suzan and my mother. Things really took off for her a few weeks ago when they began knitting in school. I watch her somewhat dumbfounded. It's an odd mixture of pride and feeling yourself age 10 years in a nanosecond, when you realize your child possesses skills you do not. Is it a benchmark? I don't know. But I'm going to take it as a good sign.
Today I Gave: I prepared a meal and invited my parents over to eat with us. I really don't do this often enough – they've fed us countless times and they are always there to help us whenever we need them. It felt nice to pick up the phone and say, Why don't you come on over and let me cook tonight?
Today I Received: It's actually something I received a few days ago, but didn't realize it until today. I hosted book club the other evening, and some of the girls brought snacks to share. It wasn't until after everyone was gone that I realized my friend Amy left a plate full of banana bread here. I figured we'd eat it and then I'd return the plate the next time I saw her. I finished up the last slice today and noticed this message on the plate:
A special treat is meant for sharing
with a friend like you who's always caring.
Enjoy this gift and when you're through
pass it on to someone dear to you.
Thanks, Amy! I loved it and it made my day. I'm looking forward to passing it on to another friend soon.