Monday, March 7, 2011

Growing Up--The Anticipation Version

Today's word is:  Anticipation

I wonder what my kids will be like when they're grown?

My brother has two grown children--a 20-year-old who is a sophomore at the University of Washington, studying English (a girl after my own heart), and an 18-year-old who's kicking ass and taking names in the high school music world playing bass.  He's won awards all over the state of Washington and now is looking to pursue his musical aspirations in college.  I listen to my brother over the phone, and I can practically see his face beaming as he talks about them.  I can feel his proud parent moment, and I wonder if mine will be the same.

I was thinking about this today as I drove home from work during my 30 minute commute.  This is prime time, by the way, for feeding all my neuroses regarding how successful I am at raising my children.  Will my kids be as humble, as driven, as polite, as accomplished as my niece and nephew?  I don't know.  My husband and I are much different than my brother and sister-in-law.  She stayed home with them growing up.  My brother never missed a little league game.  They're conservative and not as permissive as DG and I are.  They live in the forest in the middle of nowhere, WA while we're in and out of Los Angeles on a regular basis.  Is this bad?  No.  Does our different experience mean that our children won't grow up equally as composed and mature as his?  I don't think so.  It's just different.  But I don't know for sure.

So I practice modeling my brother.  I try to offer my children the same kind of life that (forest living and no video games notwithstanding) their cousins have been afforded.

And I wait.

There are two dictionary definitions of anticipation:

1. previous notion; slight previous impression; realization in advance

2. expectation or hope

The latter is the common way I think about the word--I have a hopeful expectation that my children will turn out to be respectful and respected adults, pursuing their passions with a sense of confidence that comes from knowing that their parents support them emotionally forever.  The former is harder to pinpoint, but it's there.  There's an excitement in the not knowing that stems from the knowing.  I have seen these young people, my niece and nephew, whose upbringing I had a small part in by virtue of being related to their parents, and I know based on their histories, that my own children will follow their lead.  At least that's the way I'm anticipating it.  My children have their cousins to look up to, to aspire to emulate.

And I can't wait.


Bridget Rainey said...

I wonder that too. I have a set that is 14 & a set that is 4. The teens have turned out better than I ever imagined, but also different than I expected. I hope that I can manage to get as lucky with the little guys.

cat said...

I am sure they will be great grown ups. Good to meet you fellow twin working mom!

MomAgain@40 said...

Anticipation includes a bit of expectations. But as long as you are involved and active in your children's lives, they will be the happy accomplished people you want them to be! And it is strange to see them becoming...
I marvel regularly at the wonderful person my teen is, and find it strange that somehow she has so many of my own traits that I value, for example literature and languages and the arts... I did not anticipate or even expect her to excel in it, but only wanted her to be the best she could be in "whatever"! ;-)

notmytree said...

As the 20 year old niece you speak of, I can confidently reassure you that there's nothing inherently better or worse about the specific differences between your and DG's parenting and my parents' parenting. There are good and bad things that come from whatever you do.

I grew up in the middle of nowhere forests in small towns. There are benefits, yes (beautiful scenery, rivers to swim in, decent schools, etc), but unexpected drawbacks. In small towns, there isn't much to do, which means there's more teenage drinking, sex, and sometimes even drug use. I never really got into any of that stuff, although some of my friends did. But when there's nothing to do in small towns, another activity teenagers fall back on in addition to the aforementioned trifecta is starting drama. I can't tell you how many fights, feuds, and silent treatments I endured in high school over the stupidest stuff, and during my senior year I was brutally ostracized by my friend group. They spread some truly nasty rumors that still affect me. Maybe all of this happens in the city too--I don't know.

As for the conservative, non-permissive thing, it's the same deal. Benefits and drawbacks. My parents were very strict, but I never got into drinking or drugs and I waited until I was good and ready to have protected sex. There were drawbacks, though. I got really angry at them sometimes. I rebelled in my own way and had a lot of angst because I felt like they wouldn't let me do anything and they didn't trust me to make the right decisions. As a result, it was hard to open up to them. If I had a problem, I was more likely to keep it to myself than ask their advice because I didn't want to make them mad and get lectured for hours.

Thing is, I'm convinced that my brother and I turned out great not just because of the benefits of how our parents raised us, but also because the drawbacks. It would have been great not to have to deal with them, but those bad things probably shaped me more than the good things.

You love them and support them unconditionally--that's absolutely the most important thing in my opinion. They'll be wonderful adults. Hug 'em for me, will you? I miss you guys.