At a late dinner tonight, I turned to my sister and asked, “So, did you sign up for any school lunches yet?” She said that’s one of her biggest disappointments so far in the new school the older boys will attend in two weeks – a lack of a real cafeteria to make hot lunches. I mentioned I really hated making school lunches as Micah has such a limited array in his diet (hmm, strawberry or grape in his jelly sandwich?). She agreed that it was good when the school provided lunches because it gave the boys exposure to foods they normally wouldn’t eat at all.
And then it hit me….
The absolutely incredible responsibility I have for how these boys turn out on so many different levels! (Well, this isn’t the first time it did, but it’s another time it did.) From the miniscule of what foods I offer to the boys….to the grandiose of what places we visit on vacation. From the school that they enter….to the music that they listen to. What I provide shapes so much of their life. Playing sports, appreciating art, learning an instrument. I mean, why would they ever eat a mushroom? I never serve any.
And part of what I do in shaping their scale of choices is such a function of my own experiences and likes. And I’m particularly conscious of the fact that although my boys are biracial (equally Caucasian and African American)….they are growing up “White” for that is what I know. So when a man passing us on the beach today remarks about Noah, “what a great tan he has,” I just smile and say “wouldn’t his skin be great?” …knowing that his beautiful coloring is more natural him than the sun’s effects.
I know that the boys have true rhythm within them, but I don’t dance. I know that I say Micah should play basketball rather than football when he grows up, and yet we all watch the Steelers together and rarely turn on a basketball game. My boys wear the clothes they wear because my sense of style fills their drawers. They eat what I generally eat (sometimes) because I put it on the table. They are learning my comfort level.
We are at the beach this week. It gives me a small bit of time to wane philosophic in the midst of stressing to make sure the head pops back up after the wave passes, balls remain an “outside toy” rather than fly through the “adult-focused” beach condo, and keeping a close eye out for any rocks or other hidden obstacles that might attempt to knock Seth’s other front tooth out!
My mothering bucket list:
- Travel into and/or through as many states as possible
- Visit the National Parks
- Make sure they learn piano no matter how much they hate it and how expensive the bribes become
- Model more reading for pleasure
- Camp in a tent for at least two nights in a row (sleeping in a friend’s backyard and sneaking into the house in the middle of the night doesn’t count, does it?!?)
Help me….what else needs to be on my bucket list?
I think that we cannot help to share with our children who we are and have this be their model. What else can we be but ourselves? We need to be genuine. What I have experienced, however, is that what is innately part of MR will come out, no matter what my own limitations are. Her paternal grandmother is a classical pianist, her aunt was a singer, and despite my teachings not going beyond air guitar and drums, MR is drawn to play instruments–as many as she can (and as badly as most three-year-olds). My husband and I are artsy–hos father and brother are not. Mollie has much more “engineer” in her than writing major. I think that whatever is in those boys, it’s going to come out, the good, the bad, and certainly the talents and desires. And om my bucket list? Let MR try out whatever she wants. This summer it was swimming lessons. This fall it is soccer. This Christmas, it may be the drums. I want her to be able to discover who she is and what she likes and really embrace it. (And yes, in this family, her Granny will make sure she learns the piano, just like all her kids and other grandkids did.)
So true – it’s fascinating to watch what’s “in them” come out and I’m so curious what they will do. It’s fun and intimidating at the same time.