Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wanting More For Our Children

Every parent wants the best for their child. They don’t want their children to experience any of the unnecessary pain and heartaches they had to endure. Of course, we know that experience is the best teacher, but we hope that some, if not most, won’t be first-hand experience.

My 14-year-old daughter came home from school yesterday and handed me her course selections for next year. She’ll be in 10th grade. She is an amazing student. All throughout middle school, she received honors. Currently, she maintains a 96 average - yeah, I’m a proud Mama.

I proceeded to ask her what she wanted to do with her life. What were her dreams and aspirations? She shrugged - like most teenagers her age. Ask them about a song, movie, or TV show and they’ll run off at the mouth a mile-a-minute.

After pulling teeth, nails, hair, ears, and her across the room... No, just kidding - I would never pull her nails. She tells me she wants to be a writer.

AHHH, how sweet, she’s just trying to please Mommy.

I don’t think so. And there’s a little part of me that wishes this were the case, especially knowing the tough road she has ahead of her.

You see, my daughter writes. She writes like it’s going out of style. She has notebooks upon notebooks upon notebooks crammed in every nook and cranny of her room. And they are filled. She wakes up and writes, she writes before she goes to bed. She has that little blister on her fingers from writing. She even blogs - OH MY GOD. That scared the crap out of me there for a second until I realized it was on The N.

She lives on, posting her stories and episodes of DeGrassi. She has shared with me a few of her story ideas. I was always cautious not to become too overly-excited for the fear of turning into one of those baseball dads who can’t seem to realize that their dreams can never be lived out through their child.

So I backed off. Good, right?

I don’t think so. What she also informed me last night was that seeing how hard I struggle with trying to break into the industry, she didn’t think it was a realistic goal for her to set. You see, my children have been an active participant in my writing. They have seen the ups, and way, way, way downs. They have sacrificed, as well; forfeiting after-school programs while I sat some 60 miles away in a classroom in NYU.

But what I reminded her was that while there are no promises in this game, I love it. I love writing - it’s like breathing.

I see a lot of me in her, and it scares me like hell. I mean, horror story scares me. Like me, she’s afraid to share her work - afraid of failure and disappointment.

I want more for my daughter. More than I had. The problem is, sometimes it’s the more that we get caught up with. More of what?

I want her to have more support than I had. More encouragement. More opportunities to fail; to try new things - to explore her options.

There are no handbooks on parenting - and there shouldn’t be. If I follow my heart, hopefully my head will catch up - eventually.

I’ve decided to give my daughter more. The girl’s got talent - and it needs to be nurtured. Isn’t that my job as a mother? That, and bragging about the talent she has.

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