My Children, My Ordinary Heroes

“There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He’s ordinary”

Foo Fighters

Ten fingers. Ten toes. Arms, legs, torso, beating heart, and a little bit of hair. I could let out a sigh of relief.

Both my babies came into the world perfectly formed, fast and furious-especially the first one. At that point, I thought the worst was over. They were alive, named, and we were ready to start the rest of our lives as parents.  No expectations, right? All we wanted was for them to be born healthy. We knew we had a lot to learn, and as I’ve written before, were fully aware that no parenting handbook would provide all the answers to our questions.

"Parenting"
“Parenting” (Photo credit: vanhookc)

So we set off on parenting in the trial and error method.  Baby screams, we hold her. Feed her. Change her.  And if that doesn’t work…we had no clue. Repeat. We fell into parenting with a natural awkwardness that somehow worked out; both our kids survived infancy, and so did we. Barely.

As our babies became full of personality, we couldn’t help wonder what they would turn out like. Would they be readers and writers like their mom? Share their father’s passion for music and travel? Would they be athletic, funny, scholars, introverts…the ‘what ifs’ of uncertainty certainly provided fodder for our dreams about the future. We cautiously introduced a myriad of activities and experiences to see which they would gravitate towards. We enrolled them in a bilingual school without ever considering that they might not have chosen it for themselves. Our good intentions propel us towards what we consider the right decisions, but sometimes I wonder if we’re creating the path we want our child to walk, rather than watching them choose their own direction. And what if they turn out…ordinary?

Parent’s dreams for their children can create awfully big shoes for them to fill. Our undying love for our kids can teeter precariously on the edge between what we think they should be or do or feel, and what they dream for themselves.  As parents, I think we must strike a balance and show our children that whatever they do, and whoever they become, whether they end up just like us or follow their own path, that they are everything we could possibly wish them to be. Just like when they were born-alive, healthy, with the world before them.

I think the Foo Fighters said it best-my children are my heroes every day.

This post was inspired by Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives by John Elder Robison. Parenting is a challenging job, but what challenges does a parent with Asperger’s face? Join From Left to Write on March 12 as we discuss Raising Cubby. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe at jenniferwolfe.net.

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    1. Nancy, you are right about it being a bit overwhelming…I love watching them try something, change a bit, try something else, and every little bit adds to their development into the adults they will be. It’s hard to sit back and not muddle with it too much, but so important for them to find it all out for themselves. Thanks for commenting! -Jennifer

    1. Kim, I think we need to pay attention to the extraordinariness of being ordinary…doing those things that we know are right, but may not take the spotlight. I watch my kids try to do their best every day and that makes me enormously proud. Thanks for commenting today! -Jennifer

  1. Yep, we all want them to be extraordinary in some way – and they are. I am trying to strike that balance with reassuring them that they need to focus on what they can do and find what they love and be happy and THAT is success in my book. What I’ve pushed them into (also a bilingual school for my daughter), hoping that it will help them and make them happy… it’s a gamble, but what else can we do?
    Michelle recently posted…Healthy Homemade Chicken Fingers – Tasty Tuesday!My Profile

  2. ” I wonder if we’re creating the path we want our child to walk, rather than watching them choose their own direction”
    It’s so hard to say, right? We make the best decisions with the information we have at the time, and hope for the best as parents.
    Michelle recently posted…I should’ve used a Sharpie!My Profile

  3. This is something I think about a lot. There’s so much pressure to be extraordinary in our culture. Sometimes, I think we’re all so busy chasing that, that we miss the art that’s waiting for us right here in everyday life. Well said!
    Emily recently posted…Happy Changes: BrothMy Profile

  4. Hi Just stopped by to say hello I saw your conemmt on Amanda Blake’s blog … and anyone who likes Amanda HAS to be a great person !I enjoyed looking at all your photos !I’ll come back and visit !

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