I know I joke a lot onstage and off about how hard is is to raise kids and how much effort is involved just in keeping the damn things alive (this from a woman who has managed through marvellously minimal effort to kill 100% of all plants that have ever been bold/stupid enough to enter her household.)
However, what I haven’t spoken often enough about is the sheer awesomeness that kids bring into your world. Really. It disturbs me how as I even write that I feel a knee-jerk reaction to justify it somehow. Or to apologise for saying it, lest I look like a self-righteous super-earth-mama who pounces through fields of daffodils while a Vanity Fair-esque photographer captures her inner luminosity while photoshopping out her flaws and funkily-fonted photoshop words splatter across her “I just find motherhood so…FULFILLING!”
Blegh. (Okay, fine, I’ll admit that actually sounds kinda nice. Note to self: call photographer.)
I’m not dismissing the hard stuff.
But right now, I’m just focusing on how freaking amazing they are.
And I feel like I’ve never really spoken about that side of them here, or if I have, it’s not nearly enough. If you have zero interest in reading on, by the way, I don’t blame you. But, if you are, as it would seem, am I, in the mood for a gush-fest, then please. Accept my cup of cyber-chai through the screen here, give me a juicy platonic cuddle and let’s be friends.
I am pretty disgustingly in love with my kids. I mean to say, I don’t JUST love them, but I genuinely like who they are.
And I think I’ve figured out why I’m enjoying them even more these days…I’m really getting off on watching them explore their passions. As somebody who is pretty much obsessed with following passions in life, I am finding it so incredibly cool and inspiring to see what those passions are and how they are pursuing them.
Ella, our 9-year-old going on 89, is mad about writing. We started going on writing dates (i.e. us in a cafe, her with a hot chocolate, me with a cappuccino, dag that I am, both of us with journals open and scrawling away) in Canada and she hasn’t stopped. Just minutes ago, I opened my computer and discovered an open document containing a story she is currently working on. I beamed, uttered “Awwww. Ella!” and was instantly inspired to write this very post. She also reads voraciously, to my utter delight. Right now she is all about “The Famous Five” and “Secret Seven” series by Enid Blyton. She also LOVES the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice (we can both recite almost by heart the final 20 minutes of the series), Franco Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet and Anne of Green Gables. I could fall in love with somebody based on any one of these shared passions alone.
She is also currently obsessed with kick-boxing. Yes. Kick-boxing. As is much of the family. It’s crazy. And new. But now that all four of my house-mates are now into it (even littlest has started putting on his gloves and asking Daddy to spar with him) I have to admit that this new addition to our family’s culture looks like it might have staying power. So I need to wrap my head around it. This will possibly merit a series of posts on its own.
Caleb, our 8 year old comedian-in-waiting, is crazy about performing. I read once that Jim Carrey’s mother said that even as a baby, Jim would sit in his high chair pulling ridiculous faces to make her laugh. Oh yes. Oh heavens yes. Caleb told me recently he wants to be an actor. And a businessman. And live in a mansion with a dog. He also wants to move to Hollywood and make movies, in fact he’s already working on a sci-fi action flick about a little boy in outer space and somewhere in there are dinosaurs. It’ll be epic.
Caleb is also passionate about superheroes (it’s The Avengers central over here right now), soccer, kickboxing (naturally, we’re just that kinda family) and action movies. When he began announcing his arrival into any room of the house by bursting into the Darth Vader theme, I nearly burst an artery in sheer pride.
Cassidy, our 3-year-old rockstar, is just passionate about life, in that way that only young kids, as yet untainted by life’s weaponry, can be. He doesn’t over think it. I mean, sure, he’s got his things he loves: Olivia, books, puzzles, swings, the trampoline, kickboxing (duh), the library, his cousins…but his passions are constantly changing, he is always open to new things, he is just into taking one day at a time and enjoying every moment. Why else would he be so angry every time he has to wait a few minutes for his egg to boil? Because that’s THREE MINUTES OF MY LIFE I COULD BE ENJOYING, MUM!
Point is, I’ve been so focused on nurturing my own passions in the midst of motherhood that having my kids’ passions emerge so visibly came as a bit of a bonus surprise – a pleasant one! I have always wanted them to grow into passionate people who pursue their purpose in life, rather than just take the road well travelled. However up until now I realise I’ve just been operating on the assumption that my decision to practice what I preach would be a good example and that would be it.
But now I’m excited on a whole new level. Now that their passions are taking shape, I can make conscious efforts to encourage them, to help stoke their fires and to share each other’s excitement. Already I feel so selfishly inspired by my kids and their sheer joy in the process of doing things they love.
Right now that’s the beautiful thing about it: NONE of their passions even have any thoughts, hopes or attachments to building an income out of them. They are free – with no worries yet about the responsibilities that come with adult life – to explore their passions just for the sheer love of them.
Two thoughts on this:
1) That is pretty damn cool.
2) They have much to teach me.