My youngest brought home a picture he colored. It was “If I had $100…” he wrote “I’d buy a jet!” and drew a picture of a plane.
I couldn’t stop laughing. I always try to approach life like my little dude. He is pure unadulterated joy (unless he’s pure unadulterated grumple-stiltskin) It just made me think how easy it should be to be a kid. While I waste my time worrying about paying for x, y, or z, my kid believes he can buy a jet for less than my electric bill. My son seems to think he can fly, as I saw him start climbing out of a second story window in that attempt.
My youngest, I think, is the most like me. He looks around and just seems to think, I don’t care, I’m going to do my own thing. He jumps around, break dances, and karate kicks to his own beat. When I took the kids hiking, they were jumping from boulder to boulder, grinning madly. I’m not a perfect mom, but I try to cultivate experiences and a life for them that nurtures happiness, creativity, and love. I force them to be bored A LOT.
The word choice has been giving me so much comfort lately. I cannot “give” my kids happiness, and I think most Facebook posts/parenting articles place undue burden on parents that they are the sole source of everything for their kids. What if my kids chose, instead, during the hike to sit on the ground and demand an iPhone? They chose to be miserable the entire hike? My oldest fell in the water, and hiked up a mountain soaking wet with a grin on his face.
When I doubt everything in my life, when I doubt my very existence, I see 3 smiling kids, and I know that my kids are growing up differently, and that is a very good thing. Instead of focusing on failing them as far as my marriage, I am retraining myself to realize the incredible lesson I have taught them. They see, constantly, their Dad and I working to be respectful, kind, and forgiving. They see us fight, because we make mistakes. They see us stop, apologize, and speak kindly. They saw us punch each other, and now they see us hug, laugh, and smile. They see that their parents have boundless forgiveness and love. They hear and see “Guys, we’re different, and different is not bad.” They see me stand up for myself and be assertive, where before I was aggressive or passive aggressive. They see change. They see my example. No amount of stimulation, structured play, or apps on a iPhone can teach them what a good example can. I fully believe my kid will buy a jet one day, because I have no doubt in my mind that my kids change the world. They change mine, every moment of every day.
That perspective makes it very easy to forget all the times I lie to myself and say “I’m failing you” and it also tells my perfectionist distorted nature to take a hike.