Cute picture, right? She has a dream, alright. My daughter, Brianne, has talked about being a zoo doctor ever since she could…well, talk. Now, she’s gone from just talking about it to writing it down….herself. One step closer.
As a parent, I become all-consumed, at times, in trying to make sure my daughter does everything, and that I afford her every opportunity, to find what she’s most passionate about…including creating good study habits and getting good grades from the get go. She’ll thank me one day when she realizes her dream of being a zoo doctor, right?
If only it were that simple. The last thing my bubbly little peanut wants to do after school is sit down and do homework. It’s becoming more of a challenge, to say the least. Add in another kid sitting there needing to be coerced into action in another year? Overwhelming. No one possesses that much patience…do they???
In a way, I feel for Brianne, having to leave pre-school life for all-day kindergarten and then have to come home and do homework while her three-year-old sister is bouncing around playing with Barbies. But giving her the answers isn’t going to help her learn anything…and that is the hardest part. Letting her get it wrong, or not do it at all, and allowing the consequences to teach her the way they are supposed to….
I suck at that.
I always make sure her homework is complete and turned in on time. I can only stand to see her suffer for so long before I jump in and give her hints to help her figure out a hard homework sheet. “Average” is a hard word to swallow in anything concerning my babies…because I know they are so much more than average. They are beautiful and extraordinary little ladies.
“Thanks for making sure I did my homework, Mom.” she’ll say one day, beaming at graduation day as she gets ready to go to an ivy league school the following fall…….I should just keep telling myself that as I go through round after frustrating round of “homework,” right? But, didn’t I already go through years of math and grammar? Seems like it’s not really my turn, here. And it’s not my dream, either. It’s hers.
It’s funny to me that as I sit here and right this, I’m jamming to R.E.M. Monster. I can remember sitting in my room, “doing homework” playing the drums with my pencils. Probably drove my parents crazy always playing some sort of music at an extremely high volume while “studying.” So focused…yet God has still managed to bless my life beyond any goals that I could have set way back then.
It’s easy to jump on board with my kids when they love something. During the Winter Olympics, Brianne was glued to snowboarding. So much so, that she found her most “ski-goggle-” like sunglasses and wore them sledding with her slouchy hat the next time we went sledding. She even tried to ride her sled down the hill like a snowboard.
“What if this is it? What if this is her passion? I have to get her lessons!” my mind whirs.
Seeing all of the childhood prodigies leaving Russia with gold medals around their necks, and hearing the stories of sacrifice their families have gone through to make sure their dream becomes reality….I mean, WOW! No pressure, parents of the rest of the children in the world.
It’s easy to rev up the intensity when you so badly want the best for your child. My best friend and I swear to each other that we are not going to become “that mom” in the stands watching our daughters compete. But, every time we watch them out their cheering at mini cheer, we start straightening their bows, and telling them to smile big. If you care at all about your kid, YOU JUST CAN’T HELP IT!!!!
She’s five. I can hear the Jimmy Buffett song, “Overkill” rolling around in my brain, already.
The first child. The oldest. The big sister. As all of these things, myself, I believe “the pressure” should go right along with all of those labels. It’s been my goal to make absolute sure that my daughter knows at the end of every day how beautiful she is and how proud I am of her. It’s also become routine for us to read a scriptural devotion to her every night, in my attempt to make actual reality out of the fact that I know I’m not really the one in control of all circumstances regarding this blessing of a child.
The times when I’ve just “let go” of her a bit. Given her room to breathe without suggesting what she does with her free time…those are the times I get to witness who she is. Watching her paint and draw. She can sketch outfits on paper people for hours. The old dance costumes and bargain bin dress up outfits that take up part of her closet provide hours of entertainment…and what used to be a crazy outfit and play make up all over her face is now starting to grow into a unique sense of fashion when she picks out her outfits everyday…and make up all over her face. (We’re getting there…but she has a love for red lipstick that she just can’t seem to leave just on her lips….) When I got a new sewing machine, it was Brianne who was most eager to create an outfit for her stuffed bunny…and learn to sew so that she could do the same.
“Mom, what do you think of this hat?” she said, as she came down all dressed up to see Grandma and Papa the other day.
“Love it!” I told her. “What do design a pin to match it?”
“Yes!!!” she beamed.
And that’s what we did. So…incredibly…hard…to wait for her to come to me with her passions. But…way more rewarding than giving her suggestions and then pushing the outcome. There are things that I won’t even think of to encourage her to try to do. But, thankfully, I’m not in complete control. What I need to be is in complete prayer…that I don’t mistakenly get in the way, well intentions aside!
It’s been fascinating to watch my daughter grow up. It’s also been terrifying. She’s five. Again…”Overkill” begins to play….because we’ve really only just begun this journey. With so many things to worry about, it’s hard not to put inadvertent pressure on my daughter regardless of how little she is. I want so badly to help steer her around the obstacles that tripped me up…and continue to…throughout my life.
Being around a lot of high schoolers through coaching over the years, I know it’s coming…and at light speed. All I can do is pray, and encourage, and hold on tight when they let me.
Makes helping out with tough homework sheets seem like a blessing in disguise.
Happy adding and subtracting and sentence writing….