Do you ever wish you could step back in time and let your younger you in on a few things?
I feel like I have that chance, sort of, with my Kid2, aka MiniMe. Yesterday, she and I had another one of those sit-around-the-table-with-the-counselor-and-teachers school meeting where we discussed how things are and how things need to be. There were a few moments where we would well up with tears, sitting side-by-side, a team, the two of us feeling like a pair of misfits, falling short of the status quo. We paged through one of Kid2’s composition tablets, finding many pages decorated with her doodles, and few pages filled with notes and homework assignments. It’s probably the other way around for other kids.
She draws beautifully. A doodle to her is an intricate drawing for the rest of us. And her handwriting is impeccable, when she actually writes. When the class is working on an assignment, she seems to think it’s optional. She’s always been like that. Vegetables? Optional. Fruit? Optional. Shower time? Optional. Bedtime? You get the idea.
But how does this make her any different from any other kid? To me, it doesn’t. For me, it’s like I’m watching myself grow up again. Go outside, sit on a rock under the tree, hang out with the cats and the lizards, watch the clouds and the jets go by.
Fast forward to my becoming a grown up, getting married, and having children. I then became a free-lance writer, banging on doors for assignments and delivering them on time. It was a point of pride to beat my deadlines by a day. After a while, I built up a pretty good clip file and people were asking me to write for them. It forced me to develop self discipline. Hold up my fees, invoice my clients, remind them if payments didn’t come, file my taxes. I had two babies. Phone interviews often involved my having to excuse myself for potty training or answering questions that are really important to a 2 year old. I had to rise to the occasion, and I did. I proved to myself and others that I could realize goals and meet obligations, and raise good little girls who once finger painted with poop or made it snow in the house with baby powder.
You know how your past paves the way for your future? How something you did way back when, whether you’re proud of it or embarrassed by it, has an effect on your present? Why is it so hard to tell your kid to listen to something you wish someone had taken the trouble to tell you when you were their age? It is like Groundhog Day all over again. Step in it, day after day, until you figure it out.
I envy people who get a leg up from their friends or colleagues or family members toward good schools, sexy cars, beautiful homes, and great jobs. Their life lessons are considerably different from mine. I might not want their set of struggles.