I think (I would hope, anyway) that all of us parent with the idea that we want our children to have the best lives possible, and if their lives surpass our own, then all the better. If they seem to be smarter, if they seem better able to handle their emotions, their relationships, I would think that would be something that would make a parent proud. That, I think, is evolution. The idea that each generation gets a little smarter, a little more compassionate towards fellow human beings, a little more self-sufficient, and a little more capable.
I used to worry to the point of obsession about how the girls' father would affect their development, their emotional maturity. It took quite a few years (and many hours of therapy) for me to realize that they have already surpassed my own emotional maturity when it comes to him.
While they still may wish for a dad that was in their lives on a daily basis, they have accepted the reality that he's not, nor will he ever be. They love him, but they see his faults. They understand that they can have fun with him, they can laugh with him, but they cannot trust him. They have their occasional bouts of anger about it, but they have learned how to acknowledge that anger without wallowing in it.
When he calls, Sylvia is always anxious to talk to him, but their conversations remain on a surface level. Riley usually states that she has no interest in talking to him, but by the time it's her turn, she'll get on the phone and laugh and be silly with him.
In other words, they know how to handle him. In less than 5 years, they've come further in maintaining a healthy relationship with him than I ever have or will.
I also admire their various interests. I was focused on theatre and performing for most of my childhood. Sylvia has acted, sung, and danced as well, but she's also played basketball, draws and paints, does cheerleading, and runs 5ks. She has a desire to experience everything, which I wholeheartedly encourage. And while Riley has not yet "joined" anything, the girl is always thinking. She is always listening, and she is trying things in her way. She doesn't seem to want to compete for center stage, nor does she suffer from shyness. She can also talk your ear off if you let her! I find her to be the most balanced person I know - and as much as I talk about balance, the brutal truth is I will never get there myself.
Now, just so it's said, there's a line between wanting better for your children and pushing your own dreams onto your children. The latter is something I try not to do, nor do I consider it evolution. Rather, I consider it a huge step backwards. And I can want and wish and hope anything I want for my children so long as I allow them their own paths to pursue.
Evolution IS something to celebrate. As is Darwin's 200th birthday for introducing us to this concept. I hope you'll all take a moment to think about how you've evolved and celebrate the journey.