Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dear Baby: Life

I just read a beautiful tribute from a mother to her daughter. It's all about what kind of woman she hopes her daughter might become.

I guess what hit me most, though, is that I have not once thought about what I want for my own child. What kind of person do I hope s/he will be? Answer: blank. I got nothing.

My own parents went easy on the expectations. I mean, my mom, in our limited relationship, has always been a "you know what you should do..." kind of person. Lofty dreams, heavy on the social justice, maybe a touch of disappointment when we don't think it's as good an idea as she thinks. But without pressure.

My dad's mantra has always been, "I just want you to be happy." I've always wondered if this was something unhappy parents said as a cautionary tale. Not to say my dad is unhappy; he's just had his share of troubles. But again, no pressure on us. Just a sort of deep sadness when each of us inevitably faltered.

When I think of my own kid, here, I don't even have ideals. Good health for the rest of his/her life? Yeah, but statistically unlikely. Happiness always? Of course. But unreasonable. Do I want my kid to achieve great things, to see and understand the world, to live up to his or her potential? It feels a bit hypocritical because I haven't really lived up to that myself (maybe I owe myself a letter).

But I'll give it a try. Here they are, Kid(s)*, my expectations:

Be kind. And if you fail at that, learn pretty quickly how to apologize.
Forgive yourself when you stumble. Find a way to pick yourself up and move forward.
Don't bother with excuses. You made choices.
Take care of your body. You're really gonna need it and plus, it just feels good.
Never stop learning.
Find grace in small things.
Understand that your father and I are human and give us a break, already.
Never, ever doubt our love for you.
And for God's sake, stay away from the hard stuff. Because we will dump your ass in rehab.

*To Hypothetical Maybe-Someday-Down-The-Road Second Kid: this all pertains to you, too. So don't bother whining that I never wrote you a letter. Yeah, we get it. You're second born. Get over it already. I love you to bits.

posted by Working From Home Today
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