Future Perfect

I’ve given a lot of thought to what Rowan might be when she grows up. All parents do. Anthropomorphize the child. (In fact, can we actually do that? Anthropomorphization is specifically for non-humans performing actions that we assign human actions to. A child is a human, but until a certain age they act on instinct like a cat or dog would. Would this be called homogimorphization? And can I add that word to my Word spell check?) At any rate, we do it to kids. They smash a Playskool keyboard and suddenly they’re going to be a concert pianist. They like jumping on the bed, they’re going to be Bella Coroli’s next protégé.

It’s egotistical really. At heart all parents just want their children to be happy and healthy. With that in mind, why do we assign these futures to our kids? Is it to make us feel better about having them? Are we that worried that they’re going to be failures that we have to give them an occupation before they get a full mouth of teeth? As much as Rowan thrills me when I watch her learn to run without falling over, I’m torn over letting my imagination move with thoughts of a famous athlete daughter and being true to her as a small human, just celebrating the small feats. I wish I could ask her. “Do you mind if Daddy trumps up a lifetimes worth of proxy admirations or would you rather I simplify your existence and only focus on the present?” But I can’t. I can’t even guess what the answer would be.

Honestly? I hope she’s an Olympic hockey player. It’s hard thinking of that living in Texas, but we have hockey here too. I’m from a cold climate. I played a little street hockey. I think it’d be neat. Or maybe an artist. There’s really nothing she could be that would upset me. Cheryl has a more beneficent approach; she just wants to see her happy and healthy. It really puts me in my place. There’s no greed there, no misplaced yearnings of past youth. “Just be you, I’ll have to deal with my own childhood in my own way, I won’t force it on you.” That’s nice. A lot of parents should see that. A lot of the parents who get competitive during tee-ball games should be that way. Just because you have an overextended desire to reach back into the past and be something you’re not, don’t use that poisonous nostalgia to shape a life that’s only yours for a while. Children are to be molded, not controlled. Eventually they will become people like us. I can hear all the soccer moms and dads now. “But I’m teaching them teamwork and social skills.” You can get that by being in girl scouts or a church group, it doesn’t have to be sports. Being in these leagues is ok, but I would be afraid that it teaches kids about being TOO competitive, too eager to beat another kid at something, too happy when someone else looses. I’ve nothing against these parents, I just hope my kid would do something a bit more intellectual. Why? Because I was in sports as a kid and I’d rather she didn’t turn out like her old man.

And I’ve officially gone on a rampage of thinking leading to a different point altogether.

I hope Rowan grows older, never grows up. I hope she becomes a happy kid, a decent and smart teenager, a fine young lady, a strong mother, and a fun old bat. And I hope she outlives me.

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