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Jett Superior laid this on you on || September 24, 2009 || 11:03 pm

Ten things I desperately want for my children, in no particular order:

I want my children to know interesting people.

Just as shitheads come in all shapes, sizes, ages and income brackets, so do genuinely interesting folk. I’ll be honest: It’s sometimes hard to wade through the shitheaded and dull to find your wee people a couple-handsful of characters, but you should work hard at it. They will be enriched in ways that probably never occurred to you before. Let your kids talk to the guy who thought he was Jesus for a couple of years there awhile back (although, while he is in the actual throes of this Jesusdom, maybe it’s best to insulate them). Encourage them to ask questions of the old man down the road who consistently wears mismatched shoes. The large, ukelele-playing lady from North Carolina can teach them songs they’ve never encountered before. Make their lives a tapestry of knobby, vibrant humanity-threads. Let them sift through people in order to find who their best fit might be, of whom their eventual personal tribe might consist.

I want my children to stay grounded.

I am looking at you stonefaced now, people: I plan on winning the lottery some day, most likely soon (never mind that I don’t purchase tickets on a regular basis…why are you so fucking shortsighted, Cyberia, GAH). Sam will still mow the grass, even if it’s just one acre out of our impending eleventy-hundred. Scout will still Stain Stick the warsh as I sort it. Mathias will still drag the cans to the road (using the awesome golf cart that he desperately wants to toodle around in, but still) and back again for garbage day. We will continue to volunteer monthly at the thrift store whose precious funds are funneled to the boys’ ranch. There is enough uppity in the world; I’ll not brook one second of it from my brood while I draw breaths. Maybe this teaching will stick with them after I am chucked into the clay; I’m working to ensure this is the case.

I want my children to be passionate.

Someone has to show them how to throw themselves wildly at life in general and certain aspects of it in particular. Whatever those particular aspects are varies from person to person. They need to be taught to seek, to adventure, to embrace, to go willy-nilly at something (or several somethings, even) with everything they’ve got. I’m trying to express this to them by living a life of passion myownself, attempting to lead by example in this arena. I hope it’s sticking. If not, they will at the very least have loads of stories to tell their therapists/friends/strangers on the bus about their Crazy Southerin Momma.

I want my children to be compassionate.

I hope that I am teaching those three people I’ve been given charge over to remember the broken, the disenfranchised, the misfortunate. Sometimes a pat on the shoulder will bridge the gap of someone’s need. Other times it might be a cheeseburger. I’d like to think I’m showing them how to look, how to notice when something is awry and to be proactive (but also judicious) about it. I was reminded of a a quote recently (thank you Mister Wilde) that goes, “Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.” Those words have been stuck in my head ever since, and I suppose it’s because they ring just about as true as anything I’ve ever heard. You are fucked up and also divine. So am I. So is everybody. Some are more firmly ensconced in one camp than the other. Some have balance. We are all in need, waiting for someone to recognize what our particulars are, no matter how deeply we try to carry them.

I want my children to get their hearts broken.

Having your heart broken means you gain perspective. It sort of prunes you back for new –and dare I say better?– growth. It’s shitty logic, but getting your guts stomped a goodly once or twice tends to make life sweeter in the long run. And an heartkicking dealt removes the fear of the unknown, which is ultimately more crippling than the experience of being heartbroken. It also reminds you of how human and frail you are, and that yes, Virginia, you do indeed have a heart. I just pray that the breaking of the heart is sans one of the spirit, because I would never wish that on anybody….I don’t think.

I want my children to be adaptive.

You have one box of macaroni and one can of Ro-Tel in the cabinet. Do you a) cryyyy for want of a steak or b) do you whip that shit up and grandly call it MexiMac then proceed to chow down? Eat up those starchy-spicy carbs, chump, and use the ensuing calories to figure out a way to acquire steak for breakfast. Don’t be a whiny, entitled bastard. Be a competent entitled bastard.

I want my children to know the collective history of their family.

We have a rich melange of heritages swirled up in our bodies; we are part of a lineage so very rife with incredible people and intriguing stories. Sam, my eldest son, thirsts after the History of Us actively and will sit for tellings and re-tellings of tale after tale, sometimes to the extent of driving me crazy with his probing questions. I sometimes pin down the other two, unawares, and drag them into these same tales, but they are usually attentive by the end of things, offering their own questions and insights. Verbal histories of personal culture are getting lost in the shuffle these days and I’m afraid we as a society will be the worse for it. Identity is very, very important.

I want my children to be unafraid of taking chances, stretching, seeking.

Be foolish! Be daring! Make wax wings and fly to the sun! Figure out that was stupid and make them from titanium! Get your fill of flying and move on to the next thing that intrigues you! Go it alone, or take a team of like-minded folk, just go!

I want my children to remain connected to one another.

Toward this end, I am forever telling them not to be Permanent Assholes to one another. Periodic assholery is customary in siblings; it is our families that teach us how to adapt to and deal with all the different personalities that the world at large offers up to us. I want my children to know one another in real and important ways beyond one another’s birthdays or the road trip we took in oh-three. I want them to get at one another’s Truths. I want them to help one another get at their own Truths. I want them to be sounding boards and touch stones and anchors for each another. I want them to cheer one another on in heartache and triumph. I want them to know that, in the sea of humanity, there is a little island of beauty and safety labelled ‘Siblings’ on the map and they can flee there for encouragement, rest, an honest-yet-loving kick in the ass. I want them to be careful and brutal with one another, and to know which occasion merits the one or the other.

I want my children to be comfortable in their respective skins.

I could give a shit how many people actively like my children (though, on this front they seem to be doing well thus far); it is far more important to me that they like themselves and can rest peacefully at night with the full knowledge of who they each are as individuals. I want them to love themselves, to look in the mirror and see a person that they can not just live with, but someone who shines in a remarkable, satisfying way.

8 worked it out »

  1. Trout Towers 9.24.2009

    There is enough uppity in the world. Amen.

    In fact, amen to all of it. I don’t just want this for my kids, I want it for me. Because I’m a selfish prat.

     
  2. Zoe Right 9.25.2009

    Hallelujah, Raise the Roof, Sing it Sister!!!!

    I bow down to you!

    (This was my way of saying I agree with everything you’re saying and wish more parents wuld come up with some sort of manifesto)

     
  3. Chris Robinson 9.25.2009

    Lovely and correct (even about heartbreak). But I would add one more: I want my children to always take care of their mother.

     
  4. Bejewell 9.25.2009

    I have strong feelings, STRONG. FEELINGS about all of these things… the exposure to different walks of life, the awareness that you’re not the only person in the world, and most especially not the only one who matters… I could go on and on and on and on but I won’t — instead I’ll just say good job and well done and those kidz of yours will do right by you, becuase you are doing right by them. The end.

     
  5. delmer 9.25.2009

    I don’t think you have to much to worry about, the fact that you took the time to list your wants tells me your kids will grow up with depth, character, compassion and determined spirit. My folks taught my brother and I much of the same and I hope I am on my way to imparting that to my own son.

     
  6. ramble 9.26.2009

    That there is the blueprint for a good life.

     
  7. Alias Mother 9.29.2009

    Yup and yup and yup. And yup. The only thing I want more than all of this? Is that I’m enough of all of them to serve as an example.

     
  8. Coelecanth 10.1.2009

    I’m still trying to come up with something to add to this list but everything so far has been a “I don’t want…” rather than something positive. Excellent work Mdm. Superior.

     

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