It's a fine line to walk: tell your kids what kind of extracurricular activities there are out there so they know their options, let them figure out what they're interested in completely on their own so you avoid influencing and pushing them, or live out your failed dreams through them by forcing something you love on those who may not care.
Brandon's parents chose route one. Mine went route two. We are trying with all our hearts and minds not to be those third set of parents, though we gave definite interests and hates.
The meanest girls at my high school played volleyball. The cheerleaders were the ones who slept around and drank the most (not everyone- good old Dupes (now Lauren Constant) and Courtney Dunham (now Womack) were two of my favorite exceptions). But you see I have ideas about what I want my child involved in, or rather what I would really prefer she was not involved in. Brandon thinks ballerinas are creepy. He jokes about all softball players being lesbians, as Kerie knows all too well, but as a baseball guy he'd be thrilled if Brooklyn wanted to play softball. But again, we gave ideas.
It's tricky. What if she falls in love with something that we hate? Good Heavens- what if she wants to be in marching band? What will I do? Pray that she's a drummer, I guess, so she has some shred of coolness left. Yesterday I read her a new book we'd never looked at before- an old Dr. Seuss (technically Theo Lesieg) called "Maybe You Should Fly a Jet! Maybe You Should Be a Vet". It talks about all the professions you can be a part of when you're an adult. The one she pointed to saying she liked it? The "Olympic Champion"... a big burly weight lifting man. No, says Brandon. You can be an olympic champion, but not in weight lifting. Swimming, maybe, but not weight lifting.
There's plenty of other things to worry about as a parent, I realize. We want her to make a decision to become a Christian and live a life that follows God. That's much more important than what kind of sports or activities she's involved in. But at almost 2 years old we're already involved in activities and it seems like it just snuck up on us. Oh my- did you know snuck is not a word? Red squiggly lines. Try it for yourself. I guess it just sneaked up on us. Yes, that's it.
We started swimming lessons on Monday. It's hard to believe she's old enough to be doing such things. It's not just a getting used to water class for her, it's really learning to swim- climbing along the wall, getting out of the pool, jumping in, going underwater, blowing bubbles, gliding, kicking... and for the most part, she loves it. We'd love if she wanted to be a swimmer. Too bad it looks like she's going to be a dancer. Too bad for Daddy, that is.
The inspiration for beginning this post this morning was two-fold. We had Pandora on this morning, starting out with Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours". Brooklyn pranced around the kitchen with me, making shaking and swaying movements that went perfectly in time with the song. Just a few minutes ago we turned on "Peter Pan" at her request (surprising- it's my favorite movie, but she gets bored with the pirates. Really? Captain Hook boring? Puhleese) and during the opening credits the song "The Second Star to the Right" plays. She stood up and began gracefully flowing her arms above and below her head, side to side, bending over and trying to lift her legs... just like a ballerina.
Sorry, Daddy. I guess watching all the show choir choreography has worn off on her.
How did my parents feel about me being involved in... soccer? karate? piano lessons? voice lessons? choir? speech and debate? Who knows. They never gave me an opinion one way or the other, which I guess is pretty awesome. I got to do what I wanted but was never forced into anything. I got to try a lot of cool stuff and didn't feel judged because of it.
How did Brandon's parents feel about him being involved in baseball? They loved it. Supported him like crazy. Showed up to every game.
Hopefully we can do these things too. The moral of the story is that everyday I realize more and more that it's tough to be a parent.