As mothers I think we all walk a fine line between pushing our children too much (think Amy Chua and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother) and not pushing them enough. (do we really want a Paris Hilton? Or is that only if you have lots of money?????) Hell if we know the difference most of the time!!! Certain events can really tug at your heartstrings. Just last week my sister called to say her newly turned 5 year old, Liam, walked all the way to the end of the diving board at swimming lessons and then changed his mind. Oddly, she wasn't emotional, she was kinda pissed. As mothers we want our children to excel, to show up, to be the best they can be. I also think it has a bit to do with parent competition. My husband's philosophy is that parents don't ever want to say "my kid is going to community college in the Fall" because "Iowa State" sounds so much better. (and the price tag attached to that is insane) Hey, we are human. It's a natural occurrence for ourselves to have competition even if we don't really want to be that way, and then add our own flesh and blood and life to the mix with our kids! It's a cocktail of emotion and one-up-man-ship. (or rather, kid-up-man-ship!) Needless to say, Liam decided to do the jump the very next swim class. (Tracy is very proud and we never had a doubt. Liam is a magnificently special child! Tracy calls him her "tender heart")
Lauren started theater camp on Monday. It's call CYT (Christian Youth Theater) and I came across this organization when Lauren was dying to go to a play and I didn't want to drive to the city or spend a fortune on tickets. Christian Youth Theater (CYT) is an after-school theater arts training program for students ages 4 - 18. Since its founding in 1981 in San Diego California, CYT has grown to be the largest youth theater in the nation. There are affiliates across the country training thousands of students a year. CYT is a non-profit educational organization funded primarily through its tuition, ticket sales and outside contributions. We saw Cinderella for around $13 per person! It was a great first play. In the summer they have theater camps. Lauren is in the Wizard of Oz/Wicked adaptation. Her official line in the play is "We all know Glinda is more popular." There you have it folks!!!! Next stop: Broadway!!! hahahahaha
So back to my "push or pull back" story~Lauren was kinda freaked out on Monday. The main entry room for registration and snack table and pick up your t-shirt, etc. was hot and crowded and filled with parents and kids. She hung mighty tight to my body and was gripping my hand. Now, in my mind, Lauren is not this child. My sister Tracy and I pride ourselves on prepping our children with the facts and rules and basic "Here is how it's gonna roll. End of story." Oh, she WAS this child. But not anymore. She was all "three full days per week pre-school" and "Bye mom" at Vacation Bible School. In my mind she has matured and advanced and doesn't play this way any longer. So I kept my cool and found some other "yellow shirts" and introduced her to her fellow classmates and shuffled her off to her line-up. I left after a bunch of waves across the room and a few blown kisses. (I don't blow kisses but apparently in my great attempt at making her feel better, I'll do anything!)
As any good mom knows, two seconds after you leave your kid is fine. I felt less anxiety this time. She's older now. She starts all day Kindergarten on August 25. It's do or die now kid. Welcome to the world. Meet a new friend. Have a new adventure. It's what makes and keeps life exciting. I hope someday, if I do my job right, you will seek this out. You will crave this, because it makes you feel alive. And as my girl Jillian Michael's says, "Get comfortable with being uncomfortable." It's a good life mantra don't you think?
As I pulled out of the parking lot, I did have this thought....Who really likes to enter a new anything without a friend ? Life is certainly better with a buddy. But it doesn't always work that way. And in my "almost 40" philosophy, when we step out of our boxes we find real growth. When I picked her up she promptly told me, "Mom I was fine when we got in the other room~ just like you told me."
~Life with a Red Head~