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Flower Power
Susan Dix Lyons sets an example for her daughter to admire.

By Susan Dix Lyons

I was lying in bed next to my daughter, keeping her up way too late. She had just finished the book "The English Roses," which details the personalities of five schoolgirls, and she had enlisted me to record the answers to the questionnaire.

And I was learning things.

Like, for example, that my daughter's Most Embarrassing Moment Ever was when she impulsively burst out in class, "Once I ate a butterfly!" Celebrity crush? Channing Tatum. Car she hopes to drive one day? Neon green Vespa. Heroes?

"My Mom," she answered without pause.

I stopped, my pen stilled in my hand. "Really?" I said. "Yeah," she said, like "duh."

Maybe all 10-year-old girls list their Moms as their heroes, but I considered in that moment that I was experiencing a personal lifetime high point.

Like most Moms I know, I worry about being too much or not enough. Do I work too much? Do I do enough? What's the percentage of field trips chaperoned necessary for optimum parental engagement?

With the release of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's book, "Lean In," women everywhere are evaluating whether they've gone far enough in their careers. I love and hate the whole conversation. I am a Leaner. I lean in, sometimes too far, and then I catch myself and lean way back. There are moments when I have lost my equilibrium, wanting nothing more than to radically change the world, then noticing that the world that matters most to me is waiting in the other room.

My daughter knows I love to create things and that I'm fired up by the idea of improving people's lives. She often complains that I'm on the computer too much, and I worry that we don't play enough board games. But then I lift my eyes to the poem she wrote about me that's affixed to the message board in front of my desk. "Mommy." In blue ink it reads:

Her face is like a flower
And she has so much power.

And I realize that's how I want her to feel -- soft and strong; sweet and mighty. My own future's hero driving off in her neon green Vespa.

With a Perspective, I'm Susan Dix Lyons.

Susan Dix Lyons is the founder and CEO of an international nonprofit based in Angwin.

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