I was going to come here tonight and ask for all sorts of advice about parenting school aged children and tell you how absolutely tied up in knots I am after parent teacher conferences last week. Addie is almost 100% Cody when it comes to school and 70% him when it comes to personality. The 30% she got from me really is the best 30% she could have gotten but I sometimes panic about how to parent a laid back introverted child who lives, breathes and exists by the words (kind or unkind) spoken to her when I was just so different at her age and I am so remarkably different and similar to my mom in so many ways.
Parenthood, not for sissies.
As I paced my bedroom with my heart in my chest after writing her adorable teacher a slightly long winded and neurotic email I started to think about everything I am probably doing wrong on a daily basis that could totally mess with her life in the long run. Maybe I don’t make her practice math enough. Maybe I should be more strict about her room being clean. Maybe I should take her to more cultured events or make her read more intelligent books. Maybe I should take away all those stupid Monster High dolls and maybe I should just stop doing a lot of things and replace them with a hundred other things I should be doing.
Then my mind fast forwarded 20 years to the woman she will become. If I could foster, cultivate and nourish everything that is wonderful about her right now, at this very moment, I know for a fact that I would be sending a marvelous person out into the world. When I picture her grown I see her living in a tiny little cluttered apartment surrounded by treasures she has collected from all of her adventures with friends and hopefully some with me. Her fridge is full of funny photos of her with everyone she loves and her unmade bed is piled high with bright blankets and pillows in every color and texture. She would have friends around her kitchen table constantly because she knows that to feed someone in your home is to love them from the inside out, she learned that one from me. Chances are she’ll be covered with little bits of cookie dough and flour every weekend and her bathroom counter will be covered with a dozen different shades of lipstick and her closet will be full of ruffles and sequins. She’ll have at least one cat, one that will follow her around purring and most likely get away with jumping up on the counters. Her TV will be small and surrounded by half finished art projects and crafts, she’ll never know where she left her keys so she’ll end up walking or taking the bus half the time which is okay because she loves people watching, new adventures and meandering down different streets. I picture her to be an awful lot like my darling friend Jessie, curly hair and all.
She’ll write me funny little emails and texts, leave wonderful little notes on her friends’ Facebook walls and if she has a dream? She’ll figure out some way to accomplish it. Her dad will still tease her relentlessly when she calls or comes home and I will always hug her like I do now, as though I can transfer all my hopes and love for her through my arms and by simply burying my head into that magical spot on her neck I can somehow protect her from all pain and suffering.
Grown up Addie is kind, grown up Addie is funny, considerate and still believes in magic and fairy tales. Grown up Addie is still the best big sister Vivi could ever want or need, grown up Addie has found a job she loves, and she has learned to surround herself with the very best people from all over the world.
I just have to get her there, it’s sometimes overwhelming how much I love her.
I simply have to love her, fight for her and teach her to be kind and respect herself and those around her in the meantime. She will be fine, she will be more than fine.
She is magnificent, and her kind of magnificent can’t be taught by tutors or teachers.