As far back as I can remember I wanted to be a mother. This desire was heightened in my teens when I was the neighborhood babysitter. I just loved being around children. I liked playing board games, was a wiz at baking chocolate chip cookies, and I could change a diaper in 1 minute flat. So, from the age of 13 until 36, when I had my first child, I had a lot of time to think about what my future children would be like. I had it all worked out in my mind the type of mother I would be, and the types of children I would have. I had lots of dreams for my kids. The ancient Greeks calls this type of planning/thinking hubris.
My musical prodigy dream meant that all three would start taking piano lessons at three years of age. As they developed in their love of music (of course, they would love it because I loved it), they would each take up one of my favorite instruments: the cello, the violin and the oboe. After I moved to Texas, I became open to the banjo, the fiddle, and the mandolin. (Life got in the way though. With three kids in diapers and hefty student loans, we never could afford a piano.)
There were other dreams too. Since school came fairly easy to my husband and me, I assumed my children would not struggle in school. Yes, they would have to work hard if they wanted to stay in those AP courses and internships with researchers working on the Genome Project, but on the whole, they would breeze through the halls of K-12 grade. (Isn’t this a nice dream?)
Naturally, extracurricular things would be effortless for my kids. Baseball, soccer, basketball, sailing, horseback riding…They may not be the star players in EVERY sport, but they would definitely be key contributors.
I think all parents have dreams like this, and some parents are very lucky when their child takes quickly to the cello, makes the honor roll each quarter, and is the MVP of all sports he/she plays. Dreams are funny little phenomena. Some stay in a dreamy no-man’s-land state, and others become actualized. One definition of dream is “a wild or vain fancy.” I think that is the type of dream I had for my children. These dreams were wild and fanciful, and they centered on me—vanity, vanity, vanity. The dream kids would make me look good, real good.
School comes naturally to Katie, my middle child. She is fortunate to have great executive function skills; in other words, she know what to do with a folder, never forgets to write down assignments, and has a calendar filled with due dates. Katie instinctively meshes with how a traditional school runs. At home, this child spreads out all her books and papers, and methodically completes each homework assignment at a pretty good speed. It’s no surprise that Katie makes the honor roll—with virtually no help from her father or me.
Then, then there are the other two kids, who were just born different. They both have some type of dyslexia. Both have slow processing systems (which makes reading even more difficult), and both have severe ADHD. Oh yeah, and they have very high IQs.