Friday, November 14, 2008

Growing up and beyond

Like the cliches say, my boy is sure growing up fast. We are awed, not only by how fast he picks things up, but what he brings home from daycare. The idea that we are not his only teachers and he has a full life beyond our home is both humbling and exciting. And I know it's only the beginning. Lucas is one who will not be held back, who will not let life dictate to him, who will pursue what he wants to pursue despite odds or risk. I anticipate several casts in his future, both literal and figurative, because he isn't going to waste time assessing risk. I imagine his boldly expressed emotions will not always be received the way he intends and he will be hurt. I see big and wild dreams that change like the wind. I can see that he will fall and fall hard because he won't wait until he is ready or allowed. I hope he'll want us there for the falls, for the hurt feelings, for the dreams that fade. But I also see conflict between him and us, as we try and protect him from a world that is not appreciative of his rambunctiousness, limitless imaginings, or pure energy.

I see more than ever that it's not for me to hold him back and yet feel so conflicted with conventional ideas of safety, appropriateness, and obligations. I wonder whether he will "fit" in the school system or more immediately, he will ever sit in a circle. And then I wonder if I am pre-worrying because it will probably all change. But will his exuberance be curbed by age or by his trying to fit into our society that prefers quiet obedience?

I believe Lucas at age 1.5 is more connected to what it is to be human than any of us are. I don't believe it is childhood innocence that he will grow out of. He gets why we are here, he is here to have fun, he is going to pursue what he wants at all costs, and he isn't terribly bothered by what anyone else has to say about it. As much as those qualities can frustrate me as his parent, I also know I only get glimpses of that pure positive energy in my own life. It is a delicate balance to try and have him preserve that essence while meeting the needs of participating in this society.

Instead, I find myself trying to relate to him on his level, and find that brings me so much joy. We so get a kick out of playing pretend together. Our ideas evolve together until we are feeding his trucks some pictures of fruit from a book, or talking on a stuffed pig that is a pretend phone to his stuffed cow. When we play, I feel this connection with who I am that I didn't think I had access to anymore. I used to think I wouldn't enjoy playing with my kids, and now I think this is the reason parents have kids - so they can play with them - because it is just too much fun.

I guess the biggest realization is that he seems to be teaching us as much or more than we are teaching him. Learning is innate for him, finding joy and fun everywhere is his natural way. In doing so, he brings us back to the core of who we are. We get to share in all he learns and get to have fun on a level that we had forgotten. It's clear to me we are only one part of his big journey here though, that he will continue to grow up fast, and eventually, beyond us. But for now, we amuse each other and that is just perfect.

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