When you are pregnant you lay with your hand on your belly and dream of all of the things you will do with your child. Their first steps, first words, riding a bike, learning to read, their proms, graduation, college, wedding...you get the idea. Being a former teacher I could not wait for school activities. I saw myself volunteering in my children's classrooms and being there to see them on fun days like field day. When Natalie was born I (hangs head in embarrassed shame) felt like those dreams shattered. I felt like she wouldn't be able to do them and selfishly that meant I was going to miss out. Do you see how a new parent still puts their own hopes and wants onto their children? I wasn't thinking in terms of the experiences being hers to do with and feel however she wanted to. I wanted to experience it. Me.
Six years later here I sit. Mommy to the most amazing three children. I look at them and all I hope for in their lives is good health and for them to be happy....whatever that may look like to them.
Yes, yes she did painstakingly choose that outfit for field day....down to the flower. When I told her she needed to have some kind of pants on since it was sports she found pants and put them under her tutu. Happiness!
She was too small to jump the hurdles so I told her to just run around them. :)
I don't care if they are doctors or hauling garbage. I only hope that whatever they do it is something that they choose and something that fulfills them and leaves them smiling at the end of the day. Natalie in particular has taught me that having children has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them. It doesn't matter if I envisioned volunteering on field day and watching my child be awesome and win. What matters is that she was there and had a good time. THIS is the part of me that is
changed still changing and evolving the longer I have been a mom.
Notice all of the other children pulling and fighting to get that rope across the line and win....notice my girl not pulling at all. Notice her smile, notice their lack there of. Happy!
Field day. It was finally here. The real deal, at the school I used to teach at, surrounded by former colleagues with their students. I was there as a parent. I was there to cheer on my daughter no matter how she chose to enjoy HER field day. I wanted (note, it shouldn't have been about what I wanted at all) to see her fit in. To mainstream in with all of the kindergarten classes and not stand out. After six years I want her to be happy first but that damned little voice in the back of my head still insists that fitting in means happiness. Lesson learned my girl.... lesson learned.
Joy and being able to find it no matter what is the essence of what happiness is really all about. I watched my girl get a bit overwhelmed by all of the rules of the games and the amount of people on the field. I watched her not really comprehend what the heck was going on on what is usually her playground and gymnasium. I watched that last itty bitty piece of the old me shatter (FINALLY) and what was left behind was the knowledge that it doesn't matter what I feel should make her day fun. SHE FINDS FUN. SHE MAKES FUN. She IS fun. If she doesn't understand what is going on she just does what is fun to her and in the end she had the blast that I wanted her to have to begin with.
It was tear jerking and awesome and I went home feeling a bit emotionally raw. I feel like I walked away from that field that day just a little wiser, a little bit of a better parent and even more in awe of the girl sent here to teach me all of it. I watched her sister compete with Natalie's class and do everything I used to hope Natalie would do. I also watched her cheer for her sister and stop to help her succeed. I watched her get sidetracked into Natalie's world and just have fun. I watched her naturally be the person I have spent six years morphing into. I love that. I love that she just gets "it" and at the end of the day everyone had a blast. Thank you big girl. Thank you for teaching us all what happiness really is about and how to just not give a crap what people think. What would our lives have been without you? "Perfect"? Full of blue ribbons and competition to be the best at everything? No thanks. I choose belly laughing at my girl having the time of her life running away from the finish line. I choose a field day all about living in the Id. I choose laid back fun and supportive siblings. I choose her. I choose happiness.