Today a friend of mine asked me what makes me most proud to be a mom. For me it's not a photo (you all know I post plenty of those). For me, I am most proud and honored as a mom when I see my daughter show grace (her middle name, "unmerited favor") and when she reminds me to do the same; when I see her be a good friend even when she doesn't feel up to the job; when she works hard to earn a place on the team (and doesn't expect it to be handed to her); when she stands tall and shows poise under pressure; when she calls for the "phone stack" to be formed before a meal with her friends, to encourage real conversation; when she kisses her mom, dad, and dog at bedtime; when she tells me about what breaks her heart and triggers her anxiety and makes her angry; when she chooses to eat healthy and appreciates good chocolate; when she honors my friends and understands in what ways they are a part of my story; when she forgives me when I've had a bad day and didn't choose my words carefully; when she correctly distinguishes irony from coincidence and bad luck; when she cries at movies because she empathizes with the characters and appreciates good writing; when she smiles at me in that knowing way that says, "I'm glad we're thinking the same thing." I am delighted with this daughter of mine, that she is her own person, so different from her mom and yet still a part of me. I am honored that she calls me Mom, that she likes being where I am and borrowing my clothes and seeking my counsel and hearing me cheer for her. I love that she repeats my advice to her friends and comes back for more. Every year, I say of her, "This is my favorite age." And it is. This is the most important job I have, the one I can't redo. So today I cherish the girl who made me a mom; I am proud of her, who she is, and who she is still becoming.