Children surprise you. They surprise you by surprising you. When you most expect a specific, predetermined outcome, they change up the ending on you. The ending you've watched eight thousand times. This is at once comforting and terrifying. It's comforting when they surprise you by growing up a year's worth seemingly over night. It's terrifying that you never know what they are capable of right under the surface of who they are day in and day out. That you don't expect great things from them because you've become accustomed to some other not as great things. How sad that you would spend their precious toddler and preschool years so focused on all the crazy of the day to day that you forget to equip, encourage, and instill for who they will become as opposed to who they currently are.

It's easy to forget because they have to eat--regularly! Many also do eventually learn to talk, clearly and constantly--even the ones with apraxia. In this country, at least, there's also the expected outings of childhood that are pretty much a requirement. Luckily, that's one of the things I thoroughly enjoy about raising my kidlets; but it sure puts a damper on house keeping....or cooking....or functioning in really any other capacity; there's a lot of day to day to juggle around, let alone attempting to visionarily raise them.

It's easy to forget because there are so many people whose job it appears is to encourage you to focus on the here and now. Well-meaning, loving people who each have their own very specific area of training, expertise, world-view, and sometimes, if we can all agree to call a spade a spade, opinions, about where, when, why, how, how often, to what extent, and with whom your child should be, go, learn, do, create, and grow. As a mom who considers her family to be her career as well as her calling, it's a lot to take in.  If it's your job to do right by them, then, of course you are not so arrogant as to think there are not others who know more about some things than you. So, you research and listen and question and, sometimes, almost forget.

It's easy to forget the people they will be, the people you've not yet had the pleasure of meeting. It's easy to forget no one else will be responsible for the outcome to the degree that you will be. It's easy to forget how you'd hoped this whole thing would go. Your own ideas and values, that you'd dreamed of living out in your calling to these small, becoming creatures who call you "Mommy." The people they will be exist positively in so much as I'm creating in them love, kindness, courage, and capability now.  Keeping those people-in-the-making in mind helps tune out the noise.

In the end, they'll surprise themselves too. They have no way of knowing what is happening each and every day under their own precious curls. They know songs, stories, family, and teachers. They know more than I'm proud to admit of "Max or Ruby," "Veggie Tales," "Daniel Tiger," and "Psalty." But they don't know that someday, in retrospect, the surprises might form a fairly clear trajectory; that today, yesterday, and last week are not all that is going on. Characters are being formed; synapses are being made; love is being shared. And, I'm hopeful that those things are preparing us all for great surprises.

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