12.21.2010

Things I want for Maybelle

This isn't a holiday wish for her, but a general non-purchasable life wish.  I want Maybelle to experience her family as a space where she never has to worry that she'll be good enough.  As I type it, this seems like no big deal, and yet I know that many people don't have this experience as kids.  Some of my friends worried as children that things they did wouldn't be impressive enough.  They had little mini-agonies of wondering how to keep their parents' attention, how to make their parents proud.

I'm really fortunate that this wasn't my experience as a kid.  With the exception of my brief time playing softball (something at which I was very unskilled, but also--and this is the key--about which I had a terrible attitude), I knew that everything I did my parents would think was great.  This was so true that I would sort of roll my eyes at their praise, thinking, "Yeah, that's because they're my parents."  But this didn't mean that the praise was meaningless to me.  I counted on the fact that they'd legitimately enjoy the theater and dance performances I took part in.  I never doubted their enjoyment.  I just thought this was what it meant to be a parent:  you were absolutely head over heels with the stuff your kids did.  This wasn't just true for me but for Trey and Aaron, too (I'd be interested in knowing if this is their perception, but it was mine, watching my parents looking at Trey's drawings or Aaron's performances).

The thing I've realized now is that this isn't just an automatic parental response.  It's a choice, and it's important.  So it's something I'm committed to providing for her.

2 comments:

Franne said...

Oh Alison....I just read your Skirt article. I don't know where you live in metro Charleston but if you want to be uplifted go to the Park West Publix bakery and meet my son Jeremy. He is in his thirties by year but we know not where really...intellectually he can tell me how to get anywhere and make a roux but he doesn't get 99% of jokes we tell. I would love to share my parental peaks and valleys with you.

Alison said...

Franne, thanks so much for your comment! I'd love to meet Jeremy sometime. Biffle and I may make a trip out to the Park West Publix one day soon.