Maisie is now at the age where she is starting to build friendships. Without a doubt, her best friend is Skye. They met at daycare, they are three days apart and they genuinely enjoy each other's company. When you ask Maisie what she did at school, she invariably says "Play with Skye!" This friendship with Skye is not new. One of her first words was "Skye" which I heard as "die! die!" and had me quite worried.
As much as Maisie loves Skye, she loves her mom Shara more. When I pick up Maisie from school, she'll come running into my arms. When I pick up Maisie at school and she spots Shara behind me, she'll run right past me and into Shara's arms. Then she'll throw a full on tantrum screaming "SHAH-rah! SHAH-rah!" as I attempt to ply her away. To be honest, I don't blame Maisie. Shara is pretty much a superwoman. She is a single mom and a successful businesswoman. She manages to go to the gym each day at lunch. Her apartment is clean and organized. When she arrives at school for pick-up, her outfits are put together and her makeup is on. Somehow, to my utter amazement, about once a week she offers to take Maisie to her house for a playdate. When I pick her up, Maisie has had an exceptionally healthy, well-balanced meal. She does this all alone and with grace.
Like Maisie, I am in awe of Shara. I can barely go to the gym once a week. My apartment is an unorganized jungle. While Maisie eats well, getting together her food is an all-out chore.
There are certain things I know. I know Maisie loves me. I know I shouldn't compare myself as a parent, as a woman, as a business woman. However, I also know when to recognize others for their achievements, when to admit that some people are just better at some things and to turn to those people for guidance in areas where I am weak. Shara is better at organizing her life because she has to be and I'll turn to her for tips on getting it done.
Here are some concrete things I've learned from Shara:
1. Embrace Costco and its healthy, frozen prepared fish options.
2. Embrace playdates. Their helpful for kids and their parents.
3. Embrace the mess of toys. Focus on keeping everything else clean.
4. Going to the gym can keep you going.
Finding people like Shara, who you can learn from and support you, is much larger than just parenthood. It's what makes companies great, when executives aren't the smartest people in the room but surrounded by those who are. Some of my best assets aren't what I can do, but knowing who can do what I can't. Then I can spend less energy on worrying about what I can't get done and more time focusing on what I can.
The last thing I've learned from Shara, and by far the hardest but perhaps the most important --I'll have to get used to Maisie having Sharas. As she gets older, she'll have more and more people she wants to spend more time with than me -- friends, babysitters, relatives, significant others. Little by little, she'll collect Sharas as she grows up, racing by me first at daycare pickups, then at after-school sporting events, and then maybe down the aisle. It's a scary and true fact. It's something that just being aware of makes me feel infinitely closer now as an adult to my parents and grandparents. But for now I'm still mostly the center of her world. I'll try to get in as many kisses and hugs as I can. And when I can't, I'll get them from Skye.