"Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That's what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice."Our daughter has a big week ahead of her as she graduates from eighth grade and sets her sights on high school. I've often said she's got a spine made of titanium because she's sandwiched in between two brothers. She's learned to fend for herself, to carve out her own space and ensure her voice doesn't get lost in the sibling-driven near-chaos.
She balances toughness and incredible compassion - watching her with friends, young children and even animals is a sight to behold - in a way that makes me wonder what I did to deserve such a remarkable kid. She reminds me so much of my wife, and makes me look at my own life and wonder if I, too, can't be just a little kinder to those around me.
We worry about our kids' futures, of course - that's practically a rite of parenthood, isn't it? - but she inspires a certain extra layer of confidence in me: I know deep down that she'll always figure out a way through, that she'll always manage to keep her head on straight even as the world around her does everything in its power to throw her off.
I'm sure I'll have more to share in this space in the days ahead. But for now, I didn't want to miss an opportunity to mark an important milestone for a kid (oops, young lady) who's never content to simply go through the motions.
Your turn: How do you balance toughness and compassion?