As I watched C play with Grace on Monday it occurred to me that she is in so many ways the product of her father and me. It’s not just the hair and the eyes, or the smile and chin, as it is her personality.
We spend hours lamenting the fact that our babies are growing up, that they are becoming their own person. We fret for them because we know how mean and scary the world can be. We cry because they don’t need us as much anymore. And sometimes we worry because in the end they are much too much like us.
C is a sweet, enthusiastic child. She’s very eager to please. She’s quick to laugh whenever anyone does something silly. In short she’ll never be one of the cool kids.
I know. I know. She’s 17 months old. This is a little bit premature as worries go. But I can’t help it. When I see her around other people all I can see is how she’ll be in a few years. I remember being that enthusiastic kid desperate to please and be accepted. I remember being a free spirit who acted like she didn’t care that anyone thought of her. But I especially remember how much it hurts when you realize you aren’t one of the cool kids, when you realize everyone went to a party to which you weren’t invited.
The mom in me wants to push my child to be herself; to embrace the enthusiasm and energy and to be all she can be. She is so very sweet and innocent. Her emotions and reactions are so natural. I wish we could preserve that forever.
The ex-high school student in me wants to tell her to hide it all away. In order to survive high school you have to hide any enthusiasm. You have to pretend that you’ve seen it all before and that none of it is worth getting excited over. Being cold and aloof means that you aren’t a target for teasing or worse.
Either way I’m sad when I think about my sweet little girl growing up. I’m sad to imagine her being ostracised, and I’m heartbroken to imagine her as cool or aloof.
Is there any way to preserve her 17 month old innocence?