You are NOT your child.
I know this may seem a simple concept to most, however it’s one that I have to remind myself on a continual basis. The hopes, dreams and the various means from which you derive joy are probably not going to be identical to that of your offspring. This is not to say that sharing in the passions you associate with childhood should be avoided, just don’t drive off a cliff if your son or daughter could give a damn that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father.
To go off on a nerdy tangent here…I mean, come on. How amazing was that?! You never saw that coming. Interesting story. Apparently only George Lucas, Mark Hamill and director Irvin Kershner knew what the actual line was. While they were shooting the scene David Prowse (the human muscle in the Vader suit behind James Earl Jone’s iconic voice) spoke the line as “No. Obi-Wan killed your father.” Even Harrison Ford didn’t know what the actual reveal was until the night of the premiere. How’s that for a slap to the ego, Dr. Jones?
But, I digress.
Let’s talk about blocks. Now, I am 33 years old. I know what blocks are for. I know the purpose behind the design of blocks for children and the behaviors they are meant to encourage. I know this because of my experience with blocks. Jack seems to think that they are for picking up and throwing behind his back. He does this until the path before him is clear, not so he can move through it. No, so he can turn around and discover that SOME HOW there is a pile of blocks behind him that need to be thrown over his shoulder.
Allison spends about 10 minutes every night building a new castle out of Jack’s blocks. Like multi-colored snowflakes, no two are the same. We both love to see the look on his face when he comes down first thing in the morning to destroy his mother’s creation. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there was a part of me going “Ok. He’s got this. When is he gonna start using them for WHAT THEY ARE FOR!?”
One morning Jack did something unexpected. He started building. With the care and finesse of a steam train he slammed a large block on top of a smaller one and to his (and my) surprise he had created a whole new form. Two balanced blocks that soon became three and then four. Then it dawned on me. Why am I forcing what I think blocks are for onto him? Jack is not me. He is Jack. This is what blocks are for to him, and in many ways I am a bit envious that he sees them as having far more uses than the monotony that I was insisting upon.
Where am I going with all this block talk? I see it as a microcosm of raising your first child. Nothing is what you expect it to be. It bounces erratically from ultimate frustration to boundless joy. Your best laid plans are often laid waste in the ensuing chaos that is a 16 month old learning that he is an individual person. And, so what?
A wiser man than me once said “I’d rather be happy than right.”
For today, I am happy to be sharing this thought. Allison was happy to build another block mansion. And Jack will be happy to tear that son of a bitch to the ground.
Thank you. Be well.