What I want for my children.Posted: 09.10.11
Today, I was reading a very excellent post that made me a little verklempt and restored some of my wavering faith in humanity. (Incidentally, I read another post yesterday that both damaged and bolstered my faith in humanity at the same time. Rational conclusion: most people are pretty cool, but some people are dicks, and some people are soulless* dicks.) The post I was reading today was about a 12-year-old boy who wanted, for his birthday, to curate an art show with an anti-bullying theme. The boy happened to have been diagnosed with autism at a young age, but it’s barely mentioned in the story; I actually think it’s because what he’s doing is cool for any kid, much less one who was diagnosed with a disability. What I love about this kid is not only his passion for art but also his ability to connect with so many people, which comes from a place of genuine love and excitement and not from a smarmy facade of Networking 101. When I was reading this, I thought, if my kids turn out half as cool as this kid, I will have done my job right.
*By soulless, I of course don’t mean in a religious sense, but a secular sense.
That got me thinking about what I want for my children. Every mother who is in her right mind wants her children to have it better than she had it; a lot of people, I think, equate this to money and lifestyle, but as far as that goes, I really only want to make sure my kids have security and stability, and that we have the ability to provide an environment where they can flourish. What I want to be better for my kids is not circumstantial but emotional; I want my kids to emerge from their cocoons without shadows on their hearts, without emotional wounds that never quite heal. I want my children never to be afraid of life–or afraid of me, for that matter, or their dad. I want them to know it’s okay to feel anything, and everything, and that I’m going to be there all the time to go through it with them. I want them never to have to suffer in silence, alone. I think this is why parenting sometimes terrifies me; being a couple of neurotics, can Mr. Geek and I raise children without passing this on to them, even accidentally? The last thing I want for my kids is to be where I am now: almost 30 years old and realizing that the clock just keeps ticking by, and that there’s no chance to reclaim a misspent youth. While I recognize I still have a lot of time to go forward however I want, that time is still gone, forever–dissolved into the boundless annals of history.
I wonder, frankly, if I have the social ability to impart the kind of love on my children that I would feel for them. This morning, I had planned to write another blog about how fail my social abilities are (yeah, another one–still gonna write it, too, so you’re in for a treat!), and I really wonder exactly how far that extends, and what kind of parent I will be with my crippling lack of social skills. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve seen a friend of mine in person? I literally go months sometimes without seeing anybody but my husband and strangers (at the gym or the store, et cetera); I’m sure I haven’t seen anybody since Melanie moved to New York. How will this affect my kids? I don’t know. I honestly couldn’t even tell you what my social problems truly are. If anybody wants to chime in on what you think my specific issues might be, I’m all
ears eyes. Just be kind. I’m feeling very emotional today. It’s one of those days where you cry at commercials.