“There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
– 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.
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.