Riley and I were talking about an event that happened when I was pregnant with her. I joked that she was "cooking" back then, and that she still is. She came up with a better metaphor. Because she's awesome like that.
She said that she's now a cupcake, and I'm her wrapper, and when she's all grown, she'll be a cake.
That perfectly describes how I feel about parenting. I'm there to keep her safe, keep her warm, but eventually, she'll be a whole person without needing me protecting her at all times. I know I'll still be important to her, as my mom is with me, but her life will be full without me being responsible for her, 24/7.
I can see her basic ingredients already; her kindness, her empathy, her wit and intelligence. The rest is indeed the icing that she has already begun to add; her likes and dislikes, what she values in friendships, the activities she dreads and anticipates. Her essence is both savory and sweet.
And I admit, I kind of like the spices she's thrown in.
I was helping her with her writing homework, and she was getting annoyed with my suggestions of how to re-word her sentence (even though, I might add, she had been the one to ask me for help). I commented that she reminded me of someone we knew, knowing she would pick up on the reference to her older sister.
She immediately replied, "it's middle school, Mom. We can't help it."
I couldn't help but laugh, which eased the tension. After that, she accepted my help and we got through the rest of the assignment with ease.
She's still a little raw inside, but that's why she needs me. Even if she doesn't always enjoy being wrapped up like that, I won't let her go until she's good and ready.