Friday, July 21, 2006

Sweet Child O' Mine

Dear Peanut,

Every Wednesday we take you to the new tennis courts. Daddy and I take turns sitting with you, and hitting on the ball machine. You sit in your stroller (like a big girl), and watch intently. You can't seem to follow the ball just yet, but you watch Daddy and I very carefully as we hit. Tennis is something we very much want to do as a family, and as you get older we'll have you out on the courts with us.

This past week, there were some kids on "our" court before we started. They left the place a mess - tennis balls strewn about, water cups on the ground, etc. One of the kids appeared to belong to the woman working the desk in the office. When we wrapped up for the night, Daddy and I picked up the court before we left - there was a storm rolling in, and all those tennis balls needed to be out of the weather. I left the courts horribly bothered by the woman and her kid - no one else is going to ever pick up a mess you have made.

This event got me to thinking. You are a perfect little girl. Smart, beautiful, energetic, healthy, and such a good sleeper. Seriously, you're perfect. I mean, I know in my head that no one is perfect - I get that. But you are as close to perfection as anything I've ever seen. And this worries me. What if I become one of those parents who believes their child is perfect, even when faced with evidence of the opposite? That my child must always be right, no matter the circumstance? That my perfect little angel would never leave a tennis court in a mess - that mess must have been made by someone else. What if I raise this horrible little monster because I can't see that she's become a brat?

On the other hand, as sure as I am of your perfection now, how am I going to react when faced with a situation where you aren't perfect? Will it be devastating? Will it be my fault? Will I recover after I realize that you are, in fact, only human? I assume this will be similar to the point in young adulthood when you realize your parents are just people - nothing more, nothing less. A hard lesson to learn in adolescence, but it is harder when faced with that reality as an adult?

On the other hand, what if you truly are perfect right now? One of those rare individuals who combines the best of all of us - smart, athletic, beautiful, compassionate, honest, loyal, etc. What if you came out this way (what if we ALL came out this way?) and Daddy and I are just going to screw that up? I look into your little smooshy face and see all the possibilities out there - just waiting for you to grow up and take advantage. What if I accidentally stifle your artistic skills? What if I inadvertently inhibit your competitiveness? I suppose that, at this point in your life, there are an infinite number of "what ifs."

But you know? For now, I think I'm just going to wallow in your perfection, sweetheart. Get lost in those gigantic blue eyes, and not think about tomorrow - let alone 18 years from now.


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