Have you ever thrown a pot? On a wheel, I mean, not across a room.
When you're first learning, you find that if you have centered it properly and don't use too much force, you can make the clay take the shape you had in mind. It's kind of magical to watch. A lump turns into a lump with a dent. The dent gets deeper and becomes a cup. You keep it centered and push just enough, and something wondrous happens.
And then you look up for a second and the next thing you know, it's gone all wobbly and clay is flying and you have no idea what you're holding in your hands.
That's the point we're at raising Sugarplum. But in a good way.
I thought it would be like throwing pots, this child-rearing thing. I make sure we stay centered. I keep my hand in it, but not too firmly. I encourage her to grow by pushing her just a little. I add water to keep things from getting sticky.
I thought I would always know how she was shaped. I thought she would always be who I thought she was. That she's more of a cup than a bowl. More of a vase than a pitcher. Then I look up, and see she's gone and given herself a spout and a handle. I am not ready for her to make herself useful. I'm not ready for her to show signs of being someone I didn't anticipate. Something that's beyond my control.
For years, since I was a child, I imagined what my children would be like. I always assumed they would act the way I pictured them. And to some extent, they do. Or, more likely, I've adjusted my picture without realizing it. But from time to time, I notice that what I am looking at does not jive with the picture in my head. She is growing up. She is hitting her stride. She is like no one I've ever known or imagined.
Maybe it's me that's going all wobbly and flying across the room. As for Sugarplum, she is - and always has been - exactly who she's supposed to be.