The questions were simple:
- What are you most proud of?
- What has been your biggest challenge?
- What words of advice do you have for young girls?
Simple, but they stopped me in my tracks. My mind raced to the adult answers to these questions, and as I stared at my 8 year old, I had my own question in my mind: How honest should I be? I had to stall a little, pretending that I had to do one more thing in the kitchen before sitting down to chat with him. My mind raced a little, searching for the appropriate, yet still honest, answer for him.
I settled on these answers, which were probably full paragraphs when they came out of my mouth, but succinct (slightly lazy?) Ben shortened them to a sentence or two:
- My mom is proud that she learned to speak Thai fluently in the Peace Corps.
- My mom's biggest challenge is staying patient and calm as a mother.
- When you're young, you might want to hide your differences so you blend in. When you're older, you realize these differences are the things that make you special.
But the questions rolled around in my head for hours afterward, and I think they (and the fact that I was thirsty from only drinking wine, not water, when we went out last night) woke me up way too early this morning. I woke up thinking of my grown-up answers to them. Here they are...as you can see, they are a little longer!
- I'm proud that I'm still married after going through some really tough years. I'm proud that I kept my promise to stay committed to my husband despite having what some might argue were reasons and opportunities to leave. I'm very proud that we will celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary in two months. We're a work in progress, no doubt, but I'm proud of sticking it out.
- My biggest challenge? Two things: First, in coming to terms with where I am in life. Accepting the fact that I am a writer who has published essays but is still working on getting a book out. My main focus is my children and their health and development, so a lot of my time is spent in the kitchen, shuttling them to activities, and spending quality time as a family. Second, letting go of resentment. Forgiving things that should be water under the bridge by now, but...I'm really good at recycling grievances.
- Believe in yourself, believe in your own worth, believe that your dreams are possible. Work hard to achieve the things you really want. Be humble to the process. Hold your head up high even though you will, inevitably, make mistakes.
What about you? How would you answer these questions? What are the first answers that jump to your mind?