Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Happy Enough

Update:  Little Meems didn’t get the solo.

And thus, the little thing had her very first heartbreak.

As a parent, you wish you could shield your children from this.  You can’t. 

The news was announced Friday morning at school.  Her best friend got the part, and she was so excited for her!  She held it in all day…

…and then broke down walking home from the bus stop.

The thing is, I don’t know if she ever would have said anything if her dad hadn’t asked her.  Brave little thing.  Trying so hard, STILL, not to cry. 

But it was too much.  And no one should have to suffer heartbreak alone. 

She had a good cry, followed by some chocolate and girl time shopping.  Things got a little better.  Things always look better after chocolate.

She’s happy for her friend, so happy that on Saturday, she bought her friend a gift.  With her own money. 

And she decided to try out for a speaking part.  That’s my girl!

Yesterday, she told me she wasn’t going to try out after all.  Concerned that she had become afraid of taking that risk, and wanting to encourage her to not be discouraged by this little setback, I gently asked her why.

“Because, I’m getting to do all the things I love in the show…the singing and dancing…and that makes me happy.”

"Are you sure?  Are you worried you won't get the part?"

"I'm sure.  I don't think it would make me happier...well maybe it would, but I'm really happy just the way it is."

In our parental quest to push our children toward achievement, do we ever stop to consider that good enough is OK?  That happy enough is a good thing, and not somehow a deficit?  Yes, I want my children to aspire to great things.  I want to push them toward greatness if I can.  I want to encourage them to try and teach them that living with the disappointment of failure is far better than living with regret.  BUT, ultimately, I want them to find their happiness.  I want them to appreciate simple pleasures and the gifts they have and be content with the everyday joys of life...in this case, singing and dancing.

Would getting a speaking role make her happier?  Possibly.  Would losing that role break her heart even more?  Certainly.  Will she regret not trying?  Perhaps.

But, to know where your happy place is and be utterly content to live there just the way it is?  How can I find fault with that?

Besides, she's 9.  She has plenty of time to aspire and dream big.  To try and succeed, or try and fail.  

And so I'll let her be happy enough.  Because that is, truly, enough.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Vain About the Vein

Little Meems thinks she has a vein on her neck.

Backtrack.  Little Meems has a vein on her neck.  It is one we all have.  It transports blood to our heads.  It's kind of important that way.

She has discovered that this vein protrudes slightly on her neck.  Especially when she's screaming.  Don't ask me why she knows this.  Or how the investigation started.

She is just beside herself over this vein.  It was the first thing she mentioned to her father when he stepped through the door after his business trip.

And this vein is driving me insane.

I tried to explain to her that we all have those veins.  That some people's are more visible than other people's.  That she, being slender, is probably one of those people.  And that she will be like me, who takes after my father in that every vein on our bodies is visible.  At all times.  We have "poppy" veins.  And I have the vein in my neck that pops when I talk.  I hate it, but I need it, so what's a girl to do?  I have had the hands of an old woman since I was 11.  Big veins, popping out everywhere.  As I've gotten older, the veins have become more pronounced, and they twist and turn up my arms and in my neck.  My dad has them, his  mother had them.  It is a family thing.

Physically, she is a Norris (me) through and through.  So, duh.

Back to the vein.  I have been hearing about this vein consistently since its discovery 3 hours ago.  She will talk for me and I have to watch to see how it behaves.  See how it pops out??  SEEEEEE?????  Head wagging side to side like it's going to pop off.

I don't see anything, really.

"Well, it's there and are you blind?"  She is nearly hysterical and also, she's being disrespectful so I do some head wagging of my own, only I'm not as good at it as she is, but my voice is scarier.

Melodramatic exasperated sigh.  And another one.  So she stomps off to the mirror in the bathroom and practices talking in varying degrees of loudness and intensity -- mad, clenching her teeth, laughing, smiling.  I can hear her every facial expression.  She emerges, convinced more than ever that it's there and determined more than ever to convince me of the same.

She is irate that it is there.  She doesn't WANT it to be there (I can tell by the way she keeps throwing up her hands in disbelief and utter surrender, like "I give up!"), but when I tell her that I don't see anything, instead of relief, her face twists itself into agonized disbelief that I can't see this horrible awful thing, as she slaps her hands down in exasperation and waggles her head side to side some more.

I'm confused.  I don't know what answer she wants, but it's clearly the one I don't have.  But, I try, and so when I tell her that it adds personality, and makes her unique, she juts her bottom jaw out at me and stops breathing for a minute.  You know, that look you give your parents that says "you're an idiot?"  Well, she's got it mastered.  Honestly, I think girls emerge from their mother's womb having already mastered that look.

And then I see it.  And it's a doozy.  And I know in my heart that someone is going to be very scared of that thing one day.

And it makes me smile a little.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Lights are Bright on Broadway

Today is the day that Little Meems has decided to try out for a solo in the 3rd grade musical.

I have written many posts about that little girl and her singing abilities.  Using the term "abilities" loosely, here.  Veeerrrrryy loosely.

I am nervous for her.
I am anxious for her.
I am worried for her, that the other kids trying out  might laugh.
I am hoping her music teacher is the kind, graceful human being I think he is.

I am proud of her.

I am in awe of her.

Never, never would I have had the confidence to do this at the age of 9.  Never, never would I have had the belief in myself to do this, despite the fact that others (her brothers) regularly cover their ears and beg her to stop.  And, occasionally, her parents suggesting oh-so-nicely that she can sing out loud all she wants...in her room.  With the door closed.

I keep vacillating between hoping she gets the part and hoping she doesn't.  Unfortunately, that's my truth.  It's my job to promote her and protect her.  I desperately want her to get that part, but I hate the idea that she could be hurt by doing so.

She might just surprise us all (she has a way of doing that) and work it.  I'm hoping that seeing this tiny girl up on stage, belting her heart out to a tune only she hears will make people smile.  And make them realize how incredible children are.  How blind faith and a belief in yourself aren't bad qualities to possess.

And wonder why, and when, we lost that anyway.

So, good luck to my Little Meems today.  May your dreams of Broadway be realized.
Go get 'em girl!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Life With an 11-Year-Old Boy

Look closely at this picture.  Do you see it?

Here’s a closeup.

This is life with an 11-year-old boy.

This is life with an 11-year-old boy.  Socks flung everywhere.  Or, socks are stuffed into one another and used as weapons.

This is life with an 11-year-old boy.  I know this won’t get better.  Believe it or not, he cleaned his room yesterday.  Truth.

This is life with an 11-year-old boy.  

And this?? I think I might have to read this.  I have no more clue what’s going to happen to him than he does.  I should probably know these things.

This is life with an 11-year old boy.  He'll never just smile.

11-year-old boys shoot videos of themselves skateboarding down a hill in a snowstorm.

They have monthly 7:30am appointments at the orthodontist.

They are constantly moving.  A typical day consists of basketball, lacrosse, swimming, video games, ESPN, baseball, skateboarding, bike riding, walking the dog, oh, and school and homework, of course.

Life with an 11-year-old boy requires tolerance for the endless discussion of bodily functions, and an appreciation for the hilarity that ensues.

Life with an 11-year-old means reminding him 4 times to brush his teeth, or wash his hands.  And him complaining about being reminded.  And then forgetting to do it anyway.

Life with an 11-year-old boy means holding your breath a lot and double-checking your health insurance coverage.  And upping coverage where necessary.  You might want to make friends with your local orthopedic surgeon.

It means limited hugs, or any physical contact, for that matter.

It means interesting and lively conversations.  Or mumbled mono-syllabic answers and lots of silence.  Either/or, never both.

It means  you have entered that “parents are so embarrassing” phase.

It means getting each other’s jokes.

It means you can have a little fun embarrassing them occasionally.  Appropriately, of course.

It means there’s never a dull moment.

I love life with an 11-year-old boy.

Life with an 11-year-old boy is crazy and fun.  It is breathtaking.  It can be frustrating, but it is always interesting.  It is easy yet complicated, exhilarating yet exasperating.

A blessing.  Beyond wonderful.  

Especially life with our 11-year-old boy.