I have always felt that I was born into the wrong generation. I would have loved to have lived in the ’20s: the flapper outfits would have totally flattered my Jewish tushy. I’m sure I would have loved smoking long cigarettes on a stick and listening to smooth jazz. To live in the ’50s would also have been great: again, the wide angle poodle skirts would have been very helpful. And, according to movies like “Grease,” everyone in the 1950s seemed to know the lyrics and dance moves to the exact same songs. I know that I would have loved the 1960s for a variety of reasons, but to remain politically-correct, I will just say that I love listening live music and sleeping outdoors. I did get to grow up in the ’70s and ’80s and I loved them both: especially the seeming innocence that was most likely due to the lack of the internet. (1970s caveat: bell-bottom pants were very unflattering.)
But this decade is a tough one, especially as a parent. Besides the fact that women my age in this generation look way better than they should legally be allowed to look, it’s certainly not the Age of Aquarius. It’s the age of the competition. I am sure most parents my age cannot tell me one sports competition they were part of at age 10; but most children these days can name several. I don’t have a problem with competition. It’s healthy and prepares kids for the real world. However, the phrase “it’s all fun and games” is no longer true. It’s not really fun, and none of it is a game. At least, not from where I’m sitting.
Sitting with other parents, I often feel like I’m the only one who says, “The only thing that matters is that these kids have fun!” or, “It’s much better than them being on social media all day!” or, my personal favorite for parents of girls: “It’s keeping them off of the pole.” (Credit-Chris Rock.)
My 12 year old daughter does cheerleading. She’s a flyer-the one at the top of the pyramid. If she falls down, the team loses. No matter who is holding her up, her ability to stay up there can mean the difference between a win or a lose. Last weekend, she went down. Our team came in 4th place. I was glad she wasn’t hurt. It wasn’t the end of the world. It’s an after-school activity. But as I looked around, I felt like I was the only parent who felt this way. To me, it looked like the end of the world.
I understand disappointment. I really do (see: photos of my hair in middle school.) However, I’m more concerned with disappointment in things that matter in this world: friends that aren’t healthy, soldiers not coming home, and elections that are sure to be stressful. For some reason, I’m also concerned that Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer will not be to announce that he’s transgender. (I am worried that he’s going to announce something completely different, like he’s moving to Canada or marrying one of the Kardashian girls.) I’m worried that everyone will be very disappointed.
The last thing I’m concerned about is whether my kids win or lose. It would be nice, but it’s certainly not everything. To me, it is everything to see them making friends, laughing, smiling, getting exercise, and feeling a part of something special and unique.
I want my kids to learn how to read and write well, to make good choices, and to be hard workers. I want them to learn how use their imaginations and creativity because amazing things are being invented every day. I want them to learn how to be a friend to everyone, and to fight hard and speak up for what they believe in. I want them to be humble winners and gracious losers. I want them to know how to both survive and thrive on their own without me.
Of course I’m proud when my kids achieve something. It is amazing to see them succeed and it’s even better to get to share the news with everyone who cares. It just doesn’t define me. My own successes and failures make me who I am: my kids’ successes and failures do not. But just like them, sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. No one ever created a world for me wherein I never fell. I won’t let my kids grow up that way either.
So, if that makes me a parent that does not fit in with this generation: so be it. I’ll pretend I’m in a different era where kids can be kids and memories are made based on the times you hugged your friends and encouraged them. Not on the times you dropped them.
I’m glad to be at the bottom of the pyramid as long as the people that I love are down there with me.
“Mom On The Road” Novel now available on http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Road-Allyson-Ochs-Primack/dp/1507809557/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428548764&sr=8-1&keywords=mom+on+the+road (Have you read it? Please post a review on Amazon or Goodreads! Thank you!)