My friend Wendy is wise. She said to me one day that all kids are perfect and learning how to be in the world.
I do my best to let my kid be herself. Loud, overbearing, exuberant. These are all words that I own, that give me anxiety. These qualities say to me, "Be embarrassed, care about what others might think about your parenting, get that girl to stop drawing attention to herself". They aren't what my kid is. She is perfect.
How freaking cool is it that she can scream with excitement in a small coffee shop and care not about others' opinions. How freaking cool is it that she will insert herself into a stranger's family to seek out their similarly sized child and then steal that child away to frolic about, as if she'd known them her whole life. How freaking cool is my kid?
So why would I want to bring down the numbness, the separateness of my adulthood onto her? What a lame thing to do. By all accounts I am the one whose life is dull and lackluster, while her's is wild with vibrant colors and freedom to just "be". Why would an unbiased observer say to me, "Yes, Mrs. O'Hagan, your child is clearly in need of a dose of your life. The one where she dies a little. Yes, that's my opinion." Well, that just wouldn't happen. Quite the opposite would be true. That person would beg me, implore to my humanity that I see her for who she is: the most incredible person walking the earth. And they would ask me, why- why am I so willing to snuff out that inspiring beam of unfiltered light, when I could learn so much from it?
I could only answer with the sad realization that I have crossed over. I am that boring adult who I didn't understand as a kid. I am fully in the embrace of rules, politeness, manners and all other form of tippy-toeing. And it sucks. Those qualities have added nothing to the quality of my life. They may have inspired others to think kind thoughts about me, or perhaps to not have thought about me at all as I made no impression of myself. At this rate, I'll go to my grave with people saying how nice I was and that may be it. I won't have stood for anything. I won't have lived 'out loud' as they say. And for whom am I muting myself?
The moral of the story is that my kid is PERFECT. I hope she never learns to fit into this social structure and instead blows it up with her amazing self.