"You know, when you have kids, if you have kids, there's something you should know--very confusing thing they don't tell you. You see so much of yourself in them. You see your ironic take on the world. You see your smile, your walk, your sense of humor, whatever--and you think they're you but they're not you and they shouldn't have all of your baggage and your fear and your insecurity and your life experience because that's not fair--they have their own." ~Parenthood
This quote from the show Parenthood's episode, "Meet The New Boss," struck me. It also stuck with me through a few conversations this week and a few stolen moments to look within.
I have a beautiful "baby" boy. He came into my life two and half years ago and changed how I saw the world and what I did in it. Everything my husband and I work so hard for became about him. What could we give him? And I don't mean what toys, clothes, or material items could we fill his closet with, I mean, what opportunities could we afford him? How could we pave a road for him that would take the best of where we had been and improve upon the worst of what we'd walked and give that to him?
As his mother, it haunts me in both beautiful and breaking ways.
I grew up in a house of three and while I may have two siblings, you would never know we were raised in the same home--ever.
My life experiences included getting my first job at 16, buying my own car, taking out loans for school (even though my mom & step dad helped so much), working through college, renting a room in my parents home when I graduated from college.
Their life experiences included getting their first jobs in their twenties, being given car(s), having college paid for, living rent free.
I know this sounds like whining but what it is is an acknowledgment of gratitude that I was taught to stand on my own but it also became a marker for: I will do things differently.
My husband and I grew up in two different worlds.
While I was not given everything, I was exposed to a lot. I had opportunities that he didn't.
In our five years of marriage we have shaken out the good and bad of both of our roots and while I still may believe College is a must and he considers it to be an option amongst many for our son, our desire is to give our son a foot up in this world.
Our dream is that he won't enter marriage with an unbelievable amount of debt from chasing dreams, independence, and miseducation. Our dream is he will be set up for success.
I watched the show this week and I heard the quote above and I froze a bit and I heard myself think,
"I am trying to correct what went wrong and hand him the best of what my life has been so far and he's only two."
I talked with a co-worker this week and our kids came up and she admitted, "I can't afford more than two," and I thought, "Can I even afford my one? Can I afford the dreams I have for him?" --the dreams that are really about me.
I watched Oprah this week and the "Octamom" episode and I went from judging her to criticizing myself. Providing for your children is just NOT easy. We parents love like mad and dream big but I know that what I need right now is a step back because I'm missing something.
I'm working my @$$ off in the name of provision and I'm gridlocked: I don't know how to give more and I don't know how to give less. My truest of all hopes is that I, every day, will learn a little more about how to keep my baggage, my fear, my insecurity, and my anxiety far from imposing it on him. He deserves his road and I should be his number one fan and encourager handing him the tools along the way.