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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Subtle Lessons

I baked blueberry muffins today. One of the things I'm learning to appreciate (and fear) about my little ones is how much they watch and mimic me. I decided to bake muffins, and as soon as the baby saw what I was doing, she grabbed her chair, dragged it over to the counter, and stood right beside me. She wanted to help with everything, to do everything I did. She informed me, "I the mom. You the B." So we baked muffins.

Later, as I tried to have a moment of privacy in the bathroom, she came storming in. For the first time, I realized that even my moments on the toilet were watched with careful eyes. I made sure I took only a little bit of toilet paper, as I've been trying to teach her since the Great Mother's Day Flood. And, as we often do during the moments I wish most to have to myself, we engaged in deep conversation. When K grows up, she wants to be a mommy. She's going to have a brother and a sister and she's going to buy them Dora toothbrushes, like she has. I thought it was interesting that she wanted a boy and a girl, rather than the two girls I have. As much as she tries to duplicate me, she still puts her own unique stamp on the project.

Her big sister and I often have similar conversations, but they usually begin with, "Did YOU do that when you were a kid?" If I say yes, she'll tell me, "Good. Then I'll make sure I do that with my kids." She's already starting to take notes on what she is going to do as a mother. A daunting fact.

I've always been an intentional parent. I don't like the philosophy of many, who do the best they can and just hope their kids grow up okay. I don't want to hope. I want to do everything in my power to equip them for the life ahead.

Tonight, as I typed up the list of instructions and arrangements I've made for the kids while I'm away at a writer's conference, I realized another important, but subtle lesson my husband and I are teaching our kids. We're teaching them about working together as a team to achieve dreams. We've spent a lot of money to help me acheive my writing goals. Yet, no matter what I ask my husband for, as long as it is to pursue my dream, he always says yes. Even if it means sacrificing other things. There will be a few moms who look down their noses at me because I'm missing field day and that I have the temerity to spend a few nights away from home. B even said to me, "Mom, why do you have to go away for so long?"

I have to go away because I have to be strong for my girls. I have to show them that it's good for mommies to have dreams and that part of being a family is supporting mommy (and everyone else in the family) as she chases her dream. For many generations, it wasn't okay for mommies to have dreams other than being a mommy. And if the only thing I was allowed to do was be a mommy, that would be okay. Because of all the things I do with my life, being a mommy is my favorite. My girls know they are important to me. They know I love them with all my heart. But they also know that I have goals and dreams, and I have the courage to follow them. Not just for my sake, but for theirs.


Suzanne said...

That is so true. I always hope that one of the things I am teaching my children is to pursue dreams--whether they are boys or girls. I have two sons, and I try to impress on them how important it is to love their jobs, and to choose a career that holds more than a paycheck for them but also a passion.

Now I want a blueberry muffin...

Danica/Dream said...

Suzanne, it is really important to see a job as more than a paycheck.

you can have a blueberry muffin anytime.