Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"I am a strong person"

At back to school night, I entered Evelyn's 2nd grade classroom where all the small desks each had a portrait drawn by the child that sits there. Above it was a sheet of written clues for you to guess whose desk it was. The rat bastard teacher used it to cover our children's names. I was glancing at the drawings first, all parents sweating, afraid of the horror if they choose the wrong desk. (I DON'T KNOW MY CHILD!!!) Some parents were wandering red faced, making errors. 
Come on now! 
Freaking pressure! 
Thank God I went to the parent meeting in the auditorium first- a lot of the desks had already been claimed. I had a knot in my forehead while searching the room because Evie's drawing style changes monthly...and does she even know what color hair she has to draw? Or will it be purple? And curly?

My eyes hit an opening line to clues on a far desk. I read it upside down. "I am a strong person."


I walked directly to that desk. I knew that was Evie's. I had no shred of doubt and would have pushed any parent already sitting in that chair over, pantsuit legs flailing beetle-like. Those words belonged to my child.

I sat down with my eyes stinging with tears. I couldn't read further yet. Just that opening line over and over again. In my mind I kept saying "Wow wow wow. Thank you." I was overwhelmed with the idea that this is how she sees herself first and foremost. Selfishly, I then began thinking, "Did I do this? Am I awesome? Am I the most empowered mom ever passing this on to my children??" But I know the truth. Evie did this. This is who Evie is. I am not going to say that my husband and I haven't added anything to our children's sense of self or self-worth. This kind of confidence, I believe, comes from within the individual. I mean, I am the same mom to my other daughter who was sobbing over my making her buy a school lunch, in a new school, for the very first time.
Bought school lunch for 4 years.
Near vomiting on her pancake.
Hiccupping and crying.
Same gene pool.
Same parenting.

Welllllllllll, no. Not the same parenting. Same rules maybe, but different approaches. And to be fair, Evelyn will never buy a school lunch and I may never make her do it. (different approach- lunch) but she will have to be happy with a can of spaghetti-o's and a can opener in her bag (same rule- mommy ain't making lunch today).

I marvel at people's confidence and self assuredness. I fake it 'til I make it if anyone thinks I have it. It is what I want most for my children. When I saw those opening words my brain exploded into real a-ha thoughts like- it isn't about making sure they don't suffer my childhood of obesity, it is making sure they don't suffer childhood. Everyone suffers childhood at some point, but can they approach it with the belief that they are a strong person? Because I think that must make all the difference in the world. I could not. I don't know how well my eldest would do- but don't think she will encounter too much strife given her nature. My youngest already has a fan base in children, babies, adults, and teachers. He is 5. We know where that is going. Evie, the middle, with her own drum, banging it with a ukulele, while wearing the Punkiest of Brewster wear. She is marching out there, living her life, and feeling complete confidence in who she is.
(I am so envious.)

And now, her essay in completion:

I am a strong person.
I do gymnastics. I do art with crayons and sometimes markers.
I do music once and a wile.
I'm pretty. I'm loveable. I'm very very smart. I'm very very very very strong.
I love computers. My favrit color is purple!...Can you guess hoo I am!

Yes, Evie. I knew you all along.


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