When my children were young we loved to create adventure days.

One day we were at the pool and I sat with my legs dangling in the water. My younger children (twins), around the age of 4, took turns on the diving board.

Their floaties were magic bullets that kept them from all harm. Each would take a place on the edge of the small board, glance my way with a triumphant grin, and propel through the air.

Next to me was my oldest, 5 at the time.

“Are you going to swim?”

She would shake her head. “Go in with me.”

I nudged her. “Go on, babe. I’m right here.”

She pressed in closer.

Eventually she would get in, but she rarely strayed far from my side. She wasn’t afraid of the water, which was puzzling.

I’m a jump-in kind of girl, and there were times, if I’m honest, that I would get impatient with her.

“Just jump, babe!” or “Go meet that new girl. She looks like she’d be a great new friend.”

What I realized as my beautiful daughter became older is that I had missed something important.

I thought she was overly cautious, but the reality is that she liked to measure a situation before jumping in.

I thought I was her safety buoy, but she just loved hanging out with her mom.

What did that look like later in life?

It meant that as she became a woman she measured her words. She was gentle, rather than rash.

It meant that she sacrificed big things to be able to fullfil the things that mattered to her most, like to be home with her baby girl and her husband.

It meant that she was tenacious in her schooling, choosing which way to go, making the grade, and ending up with a degree in law. Passing the bar.

What I thought was a weakness when she was younger was actually her greatest strength.

Who knew?

What might happen if we stopped trying to

make everybody look like/act like/talk like/think like/be like