"Yup, I raised her."
That's what I picture myself saying.
At this point in time, I (we) have only raised her for a year and a half of her life...only six months longer than the Social Welfare Institute that took her in off the street at three days of age (give or take) can lay claim to having raised her. And all told, for an understaffed, under-resourced, government-funded operation, that SWI seems to have done an exceptionally good job. Yes, she was undernourished, atrophied, and riddled with parasites...but that's only par for the course in that region of that country, and with such limited resources. On the plus side, she was a happy, confident creature, accustomed to affection, praise and attention, with a nice round back of the skull - the hallmark of "cushy" accommodations by orphanage standards. In the photo album of her early months that the orphanage gave us (that in itself a rare and special thing) one could see the downy pillows and fluffy bedding that allowed her to grow that nice round head and that all-important self confidence that she has in spades.
But when it comes to Q's upbringing after the age of one...well, we get to take credit for that.
Her bright spirit, her toughness, her athletic disposition are all her, and I would have had a hard time imagining myself raising a child well-versed in team ball sports, given the fact that I have neither played nor watched team sports in my life. But I can give myself credit for fostering her innate proclivities, and allowing her room to grow in that direction. If she wants to be on the soccer team, the basketball team, and the baseball team, the hockey team, I will happily ferry her to all the games. I will gladly learn the rules so as to be able to cheer her on.
I will also keep an open mind when she discovers a new game at which she hopes to excel.
For the record, before you call Social Services on us, it was six o'clock in the evening, and we were waiting for a takeout order from the local sushi joint when the Q discovered this pool hall under the Japanese restaurant...
...and was immediately drawn to the difficult and highly-technical game of pool.
I have never been good at pool myself, though I've tried it, and found myself uniquely unsuited to the task. I was not, however, surprised to find that the Q was a natural. She immediately began to roll the balls across the table in an effort to sink them in various pockets. Naturally, she failed on the first handful of tries. But on the fifth or sixth try, she began to sink her balls. She quickly discovered the mathematical patterns of bouncing the ball off the wall in order to get it into the intended pocket. Inside of a half hour, she was dead-on.
I now fear for those fawning boys who will, undoubtedly, give in to the Q's challenges, and lose almost instantly to her natural expertise.
So be it.
My talents are not hers, and her talents are not mine. But I don't feel a need to have us morph into the same person. I am fortunate to have her as a daughter, but she is not my daughter by blood. I am proud of her talents, however different they are from mine. She is something to be proud of, and I hope that somewhere, sometime, her genetic parents have an inkling of what an amazing, vivacious talent she is, thanks to the genes they passed on to her by way of her ancestors.I hope that they are as proud as we are.