Concerning a mother.

When I was in junior high and going through that whole awkward phase of life I had a hard time fitting in. My school was in a fairly affluent neighbourhood and most of the kids were preps and jocks who had grown up together and had probably formed their own clique by preschool. I was the child of two artsy parents and no matter how hard I tried to look like all the other kids at school I had my own ideas about fashion and I think my mother really tried to steer me away from looking like a clone. My sister and I were not allowed to wear clothes with big name brands plastered across the front. Well not that we weren’t allowed, our parents just wouldn’t buy them for us. “Why should I pay a company to do the advertising for them” my mother would say. At the time I did not like this but now I am SO thankful that they stood behind their ideals and values. I remember saying to my mother once ” I can’t wait till I’m an adult and I won’t ever have to deal with all this cliquey shit anymore”. (well I probably didn’t use the word shit) She responded by saying something like ” I hate to tell you this, but it never goes away and in fact it can often be worse as an adult.” Well I don’t know if it has really gotten any worse but it certainly has lingered.

I find myself starting to worry about Frances in this judgmental world, how will she deal with it. The other day as we were heading off to play I told her we were going to see some friends. Friends she kept repeating in such a sweet, innocent and genuine way that melted my heart. Friends are something she is just figuring out and really has no idea what they are all about. At this age kids are just starting to interact with one another, they observe and mimic and sometimes make contact. Frances, like her mother is shy and cautious around others but will start to open up when she feels comfortable. I want for her to develop meaningful friendships with people (kids) who respect her for who she is. I want her to be her own person and to find her own voice. I want her to be genuine and true to herself and I want her to be open and respectful to others. Kids can be so cruel and I worry about what it might be like for her to encounter that. It is part of life and I think we all deal with it at some point, it makes us stronger as people and builds our character. I’m sure most mothers have these same concerns for their children at some point.

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9 responses to “Concerning a mother.

  1. I often have to remind myself that anything sad or bad that Cam goes through now will help him learn to deal with more major issues in the future – or prevent them from becoming major issues. Cameron is so friendly – he’ll walk up to any kid and start talking. Most kids – especially older ones – don’t know what to make of him. Here’s this little kid who just starting talking to them!! They usually stare for a minute and walk away. I always worry that Cam’s feelings are going to be hurt and I try my best to teach him certain social rules – but he seems to let these things (the kids’ reactions) roll off him. And every so often he meets a like soul and they just start playing.

    I think as long as they are little, we can be there to comfort them when it happens. But we can’t – nor should we – always prevent it from happening.

    Besides, we all need to understand the highs and lows of school life. I firmly believe that anyone who has it too easy in high school goes out into the world without proper coping mechanisms.

    I’m sure Frances will always have a few friends to hang with. And sometimes all we really need are a few good pals.

    And of course, it’s nice if those pals don’t move to Baltimore. 😉 (just kidding)

  2. OH – and I love the blue and green ovals. And the new one with the folded paper. Awesome!

  3. I agree with Julie. You just do the best you can teaching your child right from wrong. So that one day when they are old enough to make their own decisions, they make wise choices. And if they don’t, then they learn a lesson and start over.

    Even as really little guys the boys could sense who was nice and worth playing with and who wasn’t. Nathaniel used to play with a little girl who was always bossy and took his toys away. It got to a point where I had to listen to him and respect his feelings. We discussed the situation and tried a few more playdates but he just wasn’t comfortable with the situation, so we quit getting together. It’s a fine line. On the one hand you have to teach them deal with these situations. But on the other hand, if I had a friend who was mean would I want to play with them?

    Nathaniel and Andrew have encountered totally shitty kids over the years. And do you know why they’re shitty!?!?! Cuz they have shitty parents!

    I am so happy with the friend choices Nathaniel has made thus far. On the way home from school today I was asking him who his best friends were. Of course he said Cameron and Owen. But then I realized that those were friends that I had steered him towards. Those are kids who’s parents are my good friends. So, I asked him who were his best buddies in his class. I shouldn’t have been surprised as they are the kids that he comes home talking positively about. There are some bad actors in his class, and at first he seemed drawn to them. But over the course of the school year, he’s come to see that they are not the type of kids that you want to have over for play dates or even play with at school. I hope this good sense follows him throughout his life. But, I know he’s going to make mistakes, and that’s when I’m there to step in and be a shoulder to cry on or a level headed adult to steer him in another direction.

    Halifax is a funny place. It’s SOOO very snooty! And, I think it’s because of all the old money and more specifically the inbred South-end families. That’s why I love where we live. Many of the families who live in our surrounding area are affluent. But, they’re down to earth and everyone seems rather accepting of one another. (I know Julie disagrees with this… aka: Horse Riding Mom). Maybe I’m completely clueless. I guess I’ve got my homies that I roll with (been watching too much Wire) and don’t feel like I have to be friends with everyone. I’d rather have a few really good friends than a network of acquaintances… that’s just too much work!

    Good parenting is the key! And I think if you surround yourself with good people and good values your child will pick up on that.

    And, uh, don’t you remember those rugby shirts that said Benetton across the front…. or the Ralph Lauren or Lacoste polo shirts we HAD to have with the little horse or aligator on the breast?!?!?!!?

    And to Julie. God…. it took me long enough to stalk you! You’re not getting rid of me that easily!….. I know Michael’s pretty pissed about that 😉

  4. Thanks Julie and Sara, it’s so good to get the perspective of two wonderful mothers. I feel so sad for you Julie that Sara is moving away. I had two good friends move away this past year and I really miss them. At least you will be close enough to visit each other. We lost Sara so long ago that it sometimes feels like we never had her, well not as an adult!

    Yes I do remember the Benetton shirts. I think by that time maybe mom had finally given in, but that was about it!

    Halifax is totally snooty and what got me thinking about this whole topic was being at the library last week with a new group of people and looking around at all the designer mom’s and tots. I guess all those kids from Jr. high grew up and had designer babies. I have met two very nice mom’s at the library and I have also been lucky to meet a bunch of like minded mothers who we get together with once a week. I think you are right about surrounding yourself with good people.

    I’m sure when Frances gets there, she will make good choices and good friends. I hope she isn’t too shy like her mother, but that is something we will just work with.

    I bet Cam and Than are such good buddies because they are both so friendly!

  5. I’m not too upset about Sara leaving b/c I know we’ll email a ton and she’ll be back from time to time to visit with Carol and Bruce. Sure, it will blow on the day to day basis – but somehow, I’ll survive. (sniff, sniff)

    West Hartford certainly does have plenty of folk with moola who are also kind and fun to hang with. But there is a big snooty-tooty community as well. I don’t worry about it. I always find a couple moms to chum around with who either are A.) poor like me or B.) funky.

    Unless one’s a total wreck, they can usually find one or two people to hang with in their surroundings.

    That said – I think Sara gets along with more people than I do. I’ve gotten a little less tolerant of a-holes in my old age. Sara is nicer.

  6. I’m Canadian, Julie! I’m nice to everyone…… oh, sorry! Sorry! SORRY!
    I’m also totally clueless…. all those high notes for all those years….

  7. In the summer we’ll see much more of one another! I plan on going to Isleville Park at least… oh my god, I just realized that I plan on having Ash in day care this summer.

    Um. Well, I was going to say that we plan on going to Isleville at least four times a week.

    I was a huge geek in Jr High School and elementary as well, mostly because we had no money and couldn’t afford brand name clothes, and you know? It was hell when I was living it, but some of the most interesting people I’ve met in my life were also nerds.

    The only thing I hope is that Ash feels able to express himself through his clothes and hair. It was an enormous part of my growing up- finding great second hand treasures and putting them together. Because I wasn’t at all artistic, it was the only way I was able to express myself.

    I have a feeling Frances will be funky as a teenager! And she’s already so kind, no one could not like her. 🙂

  8. Gillian, dreams about the warm spring and summer days frolicking at the park are what get me through these cold icy days stuck indoors! It will be so much fun this summer with most if not all the kids walking and running around. We definitely will have to have picnics!

    One thing I am always thankful for is that as teenagers my sister and I were allowed to do what we wanted with our hair (although it made our mother cringe!) and our clothes (within reason, nothing scantly clad). After all, hair grows back and cloths are outgrown.

    Finding treasures at the thrift shop is one of life’s little joys!!

  9. Although, Mom wouldn’t let me go to school with my hair spiked in a mohawk (I had to do that once I got to school). And she almost KILLED me when I dyed it blue and green!

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