Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Posted by Maggie May Labels: Babies To Teenagers
Dakota turned fourteen. he is passionate, intense, extremely intelligent, observant, emotionally and verbally past his years, sensitive, competitive, aggressive, loving, hilarious, giving, honorable and full of piss and vinegar. he has that kind of intelligent awareness that was there at birth. he got into the first 'real' trouble of his life and we worked through it, as a family. whatever our faults (and i think those are pretty clear to me) we expose them, struggle with them and understand them as a unit, as a family. Dakota is in MMA and seriously kicking ass. he's very good at it. he is ring sparring now. he's read the entire Harry Potter series in the last few months, the biography of Mohammad Ali and various other books. this makes me super happy. he has a relationship with his dog Bodie that resembles Lassie and his boy. Bodie sleeps on him every night. ON HIM. a 70 pound golden retriever so in love with the boy that he sits, head in paws, outside the bathroom when Dakota showers. Dakota always offers food to the immigrants that come to our door. he is kind and attentive to kids that other middle schoolers make life miserable for if he feels they are good kids, or maybe just hurting and confused, like the boy whose parents died in a car crash a few years ago. he's sarcastic and sweet and nothing would do without him.
Ian is twelve and much smarter than you might think because he is SO quiet. however if you are the observant kind, you will see the gleam of an aware mind in his eyes. very shy, reserved, observant, decent, hard working, sensitive and brusque at the same time as only little boys can seem to be. he is so smart they put him in 'seminar' which is the program above GATE. he got a 4.0 this semester and is in advanced algebra in 7th grade. he reads science fiction, war fiction, and thrillers. Ian struggles very much with social relations with kids his age. thank god he and Dakota have each other because they learn so much from their love and friendship. they have the kind of brotherhood you could only dream of for your kids. although they are 'stepbrothers' they are decidedly NOT. Dakota was there when Ian was born and has known him as a best friend until Mr. Curry and I married and they are now nothing less than brothers. 'step' never comes into it unless it's something like this, where we are explaining the setup of things to someone. Ian is the kind of boy who when you get him alone is very different. his defenses come down and he talks more and you realize what an exceptional mind this child has. right now he wants to be in the Special Forces and i forsee absolutely nothing holding him back. he's also the kind of child who God blessed with a fine mind AND an innate sense of discipline. he does his own homework, without being asked, all done beautifully. yeah. i CANNOT relate to that! :) but i so admire it. i love this sensitive, sharp little boy as my son, and life just wouldn't do without him.
Lola, oh Lola. our youngest child, our little girl. the White Stripes said there was 'death of the sweetheart' but they do not know this child. age six, she is shining with beauty. her eyes glow and sparkle- really- and you again see that awareness and intelligence in her face. her teachers tell us what a 'sweetheart' she is, how kind to all the other children, how sensitive. at home she is fiesty- two older brothers to compete and defend and keep up with. she loves to dance with me- we shake our booties, we often sleep together, we play Barbies, we crack jokes, we talk about her friends, we buggle on the couch, we hold hands. Mr. Curry and Lola wrestle, giggle, he sneak attacks her, she zerberts his belly, he smacks her booty, she asks him to hold her still. Lola has enough art supplies to supply a school- she collages, draws, watercolors, inks, tears, pastes. she loves music more than any of our children and walks around the house singing everything. Lola is very motherly toward her dolls and anyone sad. she is afraid of the dark. she believes that nothing can hurt her Dad. she tells me i am the most beautiful girl she's ever seen. she is reading now . we read her books every night in bed. she is hil.a.ri.ous. seriously. so funny, so funny. she makes us laugh- even her brothers!- all the time. Life just wouldn't do without our girl.
Our children are the heart of our lives, literal and metaphorical. We circle around them in our love affair, Mr. Curry and I, we make room for our privacy and our adult love- but those children are the heart. Friday night is family night. we all eat out or take out and go home, hit the bookstore, come home and play games (pictionary and UNO being favorites) and snuggle buggle while watching a movie. we eat dinner together at the table five out of seven nights on average. Saturdays are family outings- we hike, go to friends, run errands all together (we all love Home Depot). Sundays we clean, lounge, computer, movies, food, dogs, cats, home.
i think i know what my weakness as a parent are, although who knows, time may reveal more :)
and i'm not happy with them. i AM happy that they are what they are, and not weakness that undermine our children's ability to believe in us, themselves or the possibilites of joy. our children, above all else, know that they are LOVED. and this is not because they get whatever they want when they want it. according to Dakota, we are the strictest parents in town,and when i see the rules his age group have, i tend to agree. however, Dakota's music is respected in this house. we don't mock each other unless it won't hurt. Ian's career choice (army) is respected, even admired, even though Mr. Curry and I are liberals and Democrats and for the large degree, pacifists. Lola's love of singing constantly, my penchant for constantly making things into a rap or an opera and my time spent blogging, Mr. Curry's constant irritation at driving and traffic- all of what makes us who we are, these things are not made to feel like glaring faults. we let our children know they are loved by not expecting them to be minature versions of us. by talking, not just 'when something happens' but most of the time, ongoing. by believing that quality time is NOT the most important thing . how we spend our time indicates our priorities, Mr. Curry and I believe, and our children are our priorities, as well as our marriage. so we have Date Night. we kiss, we snuggle, we say sweet nothings, and the boys groan but i see they are proud of us.
i see they are learning about a joyful marriage based on communication and trust and hard work, and i am proud of that.
and when our children fail- as they will, they WILL- we do NOT, will not, make them feel like failures. it is our job to always see the best in our children, to always believe in the best of them, and when they have made mistakes, even large, painful ones, how to work through that- and that, meanwhile, even if we are disappointed or angry, we are still There and we are never giving up and we love them. we are a wall of love with a door to life always open.
we talk about doing the right thing and why that matters, what love really is, how to do something that is hard to do but right, sex, drinking, mistakes, how to deal with anger, politics, the election, bigotry, life. we talk a LOT, all the time. sometimes we make room for silences. sometimes we need a break from each other. we laugh A LOT. this was something we never did in my family of origin. laughter was often 'rude' or 'too loud' or 'not appropriate' but it was rarely spontaneous, welcomed, relished or embraced. in our family, laughter is not only for celebrating but for pain as well. sometimes when things are grim a laugh can break the wall to crying. we cultivate a willingness to laugh at ourselves alongside a deep respect for our personhood- our humanity.
the kids make jokes other parents wouldn't let their children make- but on the other hand, they believe in gay rights, they think prejudice is ignorance, they don't make fun of others for their apperance, they honor the common dignity of human beings. so if they say the occasional 'shit' or make off color jokes then so be it. fine by us. i think the finest thing we have done as parents is to think about What Really Matters, to us, and then to focus on that daily, and let the rest be a little. our children have breathing room but they walk with solid steps.
Thank you, Universe, for my family. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.