But after that?
Will I be disappointed if my kids make choices that lead them in directions that are different than the ones I have carved out in my head for them?
(When religion gets brought in the mix, things get a little gray for me because it would really be difficult as a parent to watch your child shun things that you hold so precious. Would there always be love and open arms? Of course. Would there also be disappointment? I don't know. It seems like probably.)
But I am more talking about ideals of a child being athletic or a good student or enjoying the same kinds of things that I enjoy. What if my son chooses dance? That is something that I would never imagine up for him in my head, but does that mean I wouldn't be happy for him if that is what made him happy? What if my kids are introverts who don't like to talk or have friends? Sounds like of comical when I put it like that, but seriously! It could happen. And that is so different from what I am like or what I have imagined them to be like, but does that mean that I would be disappointed?
I SO hope not. I really, really hope to always recognize the beauty and goodness that resides within my children and to love them for that, not for anything they do. It doesn't sound so hard, but picture it in your head-- you have a child that doesn't like the same things that you like or that is interested in things that you find weird. Would it be as easy to connect with that child as the one that you have more in common with? What if all of my kids like strange computer games, have fascinations with sword-fighting, and hate college football? All of those things are so foreign to me (especially the hating college football-- I am counting down the days to kick-off), but I would hope that I would still find as much joy and love in parenting then as I would if my kids grew up to be talkative, sports radio lovers who enjoy shopping for baby clothes :).
I guess what I am trying to say is that I really hope to be the kind of mom who allows my children to choose their own paths and then fully, 100% supports them in that. And not only loves them in spite of the differences in actuality versus "ideal," but loves them all the more for those differences because I can recognize that those things are part of what makes them who they are.
In a small sense, I am kind of getting a taste of this. I love, no LOVE amusement parks and thrill rides. This probably has something to do with the fact that I grew up with a father who snuck me on big roller coasters when I was far too small for them by padding my shoes with thick socks. Awesome, right? Well, you can imagine my horror upon learning that I am raising a son who does not, under any circumstances, enjoy thrill rides. And when I use the term "thrill ride," what I actually mean is anything that could possibly go faster than 2 mph, goes in a circle AT ALL (he does not want to "go bizzy," remember?), or goes up and down. He has always been this way-- remember this? I thought as he got older he would learn to like rides more (or at least he would get used to them and tolerate them), but I am realizing that those kinds of things just may not be his thing. My gut reaction is, "Over my dead body! In this family we love rides!" But here's the reality: it doesn't matter if Georgie doesn't like to ride rides. Ideal? Out the window. Do I really care if my little boy doesn't share my love for things that go fast and make you slightly nauseous? No. In fact, one of the things I love most about George is how mild mannered and gentle he is. And part of that package, part of him, is not liking things that go fast and make him "bizzy." So I am over it, and, beyond that, I love him all the more for showing me that there is a different way to be, a way that is perhaps different than I expected, but beautiful in its own right.
How about some photographic proof?
Lagoon, a couple of weeks ago. Daddy tries to put Georgie in the most harmless baby whales ever. That just so happened to go in a circle and move up and down. G wasn't going for it. As quickly as his Daddy had put him in the whale, George had flipped around and lunged back into Daddy's arms. J just laughed and carried him to safe ground where there were no moving whales.
These are the kinds of rides that G can enjoy. No fast movements, no circles. Just cute little boats and cars that move slowly and have steering wheels.
See how happy?
Surely he was the only three-year-old there that thought these teensy, s l o w, baby boats were a riot.
Oddly enough, he also enjoyed the bumper cars. I think because he could control them and didn't have to move if he didn't want to.
He couldn't even stand to watch Rach and me on these swings. WAY too much for him.
He did surprisingly well on Rattlesnake Rapids, and even enjoyed getting soaked at the end. Again, I am sure it was because it didn't move fast or go in circles.
And even though the Skyride goes up pretty high, he loved it because it is slow and steady and he could be next to his dad.
Love those little dangling legs.
So, I have a son who doesn't like thrill rides. Maybe my girl will love them. This time she was pretty content to either hang out in Daddy's arms facing out or in Mama's arms facing in :).