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Maureen Anderson Headshot

Our Daughter's Childhood, 140 Characters at a Time

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You go to class, you take notes. If you look at all of life as a classroom, like I do, you might take lots of notes.

My husband's been after me for years to share some of the notes I took as our daughter grew up. On my first pass through them while Katie was still in high school, we savored those highlights together a few evenings a week. It was so much fun to stumble on a reference, for example, to one of her first visits with a mall Santa. She'd asked him for a Slinky Dog -- but the big man was apparently reluctant to promise anything. When Darrell asked her how it went she answered with, "He said, 'Here. Have a book and some reindeer antlers.'"

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Now that Katie's in college, I'm making another pass through my notes and sharing some of them on Twitter as #TheKaOfKatie. I think of ka -- a term that originated in ancient Egypt -- as the essence of someone's spirit.

After less than a week, patterns started to emerge. How smart and spunky Katie's always been. How funny. But mostly, how sweet. There's a gentleness mixed in with her determination that'll break your heart, I think.

I didn't realize how young she was when what we love most about her was already apparent -- like how much she appreciates everything...

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She doesn't insist on what she wants, but she still wants it...

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And she's silly...

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The experiment has only just begun, and already I'm putting it in the win column. It's forced me to slow down as I peruse what I've learned from Kate. She approves everything we post, so it's another way to have fun as a family again. And people have already started to tell us they look forward to seeing that hashtag on Twitter -- which, as anyone familiar with the medium knows, isn't always the case.

Most importantly, I appreciate in a brand-new way what a privilege it was to watch Katie grow up. It's like being a kid myself again, taking in the wonder of a suddenly-magical living room while hanging upside down from the couch cushions.

#TheKaOfKatie confirms what I've always suspected but now I'm sure of, that we don't raise our children so much as they do us.

Thanks, kiddo!