Saturday, August 18, 2012

To Have an Ordinary Child

The 2012 Summer Olympics marked the first time I watched the games as a parent of two mobile, destructive active children. As such, I noticed different things about the coverage. I noticed the parents. They were there in the
stands going through every emotion of which a human spirit is capable (Notice how I managed to not end in a preposition by sounding like a Bronte sister. It's August, my inner teacher needed some stretching.) as their children achieve (or failed to achieve) feats that took the body and mind to the absolute limit. Really, even though they are spectators, they are the ones who made it happen or at least started their child down the path. They figured out how to maneuver through coaches and money and schedules and school and practices to make sure their child's Olympic dream came true. They had to decide, usually when their child was at very young age, how far they all were willing to go. It is an epic feat of parenting. There should be medals. (See what I did there? Heh.)
Is it wrong that I sort of hope that it is never me?
As a parent, aren't I suppose to want my child to be Olympics (Am I the only one who can never type Olympic correctly the first try?) level extraordinary? Isn't it every parents dream to have their kid achieve such a lofty goal?
It just kind of ties me in knots because I worry about my kids having an extraordinary talent. It can take over lives. It can be the end all and be all of not only that kid's life, but the parent's, siblings', grandparents', third cousins' lives too. Striving to always be the best at something that could potential be humanly impossible is a lot to put on a kid especially when a lot of these athletes start at five or six. (Note: I apply this idea to all talents, music, art, dance, juggling, jousting, etc.)
As the parents, it would be John's and my role to make CJ or Leila find balance if they happen to be in the upper echelon of some active community. While we would be numbing our butts in bleachers and screaming our heads off, we would also have to make sure there was time for school and friends and family and other pursuits. It would be up to us to make sure that if the dream is Olympic gold and that never happens, that life is not over.
That is a lot of pressure on parents on top of the pressure of just being a parent. The pressure of extraordinary reverberates through a person's life, and the first choices on the path are made by the parents. Please, don't think I am disparaging athletes or their parents. On the contrary, I am in some awe of them. But I am scared to be one. I would not let that fear stand in the way if CJ or Leila prove to have the talent and the drive, but that doesn't stop it from existing. It will be there even if I end of being interviewed by Bob Costas.
(The parentheticals were inspired by Megan at Best of Fates, the queen of the parentheticals.)


  1. I can totally see CJ becoming a world-class jouster

  2. You give up a lot to become and then be a parent. I am totally there with you. I admire these people and their parents for supporting them and giving them the opportunity, but I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to be extraordinarily ordinary. Way to put it in words! (and parenthesis) :)