To be nobody but myself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting. -E.E. Cummings, Poet (1894-1962)
It's good that tears can't be seen in the dark. It's also good that tired children aren't as perceptive in the dark when they're sleepy and thinking of other things... happy things.
Storm (who is eerily close to 5 years old, now) has amazed us with his physical abilities since... gosh, very early on. At least as far back as starting to walk, but probably further. His ability to know his body and its limits, to jump from so high with no fear and only get stinging feet... To throw a ball a surprising distance for his age (from very early on and continuing) and the accuracy he throws with.... The uncanny balance he's surprised us all with... His strength-that often rivals and sometimes overpowers Wyl, who is 5 1/2 years his senior...
His joy right now is gymnastic-type things. Jumping of all sorts; hanging, climbing and flipping over and under bars (or anything close enough to a bar to suit his need), that sort of stuff. He's been taking homeschool gymnastics classes for about a year and a half, now, at a local gym that Wyl took gymnastics at for a while. He had quit gymnastics before Storm was walking much (if at all) and was interested in trying again, but quickly lost interest. Storm loved it so much from the start that we went from one 45 minute class a week to two. And still he asked for more. When illness and travel had us missing several classes and to make them up, we ended up with *three* 45 minute classes a week, still, he asked for more. Every day he asked when he could go to gymnastics again. Sometimes, he wanted to go right back as soon as we got home. I wished I had the money to fulfill his need, but we did add some things at home (trampoline, loft bed-never would have considered *that* a climbing apparatus, but Storm saw it for that right away) that helped a wee bit.
This year, when the "school year" that the gymnastics schedule follows was over, his favorite coach, Steve, and I talked about where Storm might be placed for summer. There seems to be a big difference in class activity, skill level and length of class under 5 years and 5 years and up. Steve thought Storm could easily go to the 5 year old class, and maybe even into the 6 year olds-the big question was "listening" in the "paying attention" kind of way. I considered that he *may* be slightly bored and even that being in with older kids might help him focus better. We decided to give it a try for the summer. Private lessons were even suggested. *That* seemed like an interesting prospect, but I thought I remembered hearing they cost around $30/hour. Yikes.
With Wyl wanting to try gymnastics again, and 2 kids doing 2 classes a week, the owner gave me a break on the private lessons and kicked it down to a half hour, saving me a bit more. Storm was kind of excited about the extra time to work on more stuff that he was interested in.
Well, today was his first private lesson. There were a couple instances where his attention wandered (but really, he *is* 4! :~) ) and a few moments here and there that he fell into "play mode", but again, he amazed me with his strength. I didn't hear anything about it all day, so I asked at the end of the day as we were getting settled down for him to fall asleep.
I tried to keep it neutral, asking if he liked classes with the kids or by himself the same or if he liked one better than the other, but boy! "I like being by myself with Jake! I want to do gymnastics like that ALL the time!" :~) Oh, gosh, how I would love to do that for him, but the wallet says otherwise. I talked a bit about how Jake was trying to tell him how to hold his hands, but Storm was distracted and it was like the dawning of a Great Idea, "Ooooohhhh! Okay!!" he giggled. I suggested that he might learn more if he listened a bit closer to Jake instead of rolling around silly on the floor. He was quite excited about that and giggled again.
I started thinking about my love of singing and music and said, "Storm... Whenever you like something, I would love if you would tell me so I can help you do it as much as you want." He asked (at some point tonight) why he got those classes (or something to that effect). I told him I knew how much he liked gymnastics and that I thought he would like extra time and working on those skills he loves so much and that we'd talked about him learning more skills and being able to do more "big guy" kind of gymnastics (like we saw on the Olympics) and he *threw* himself on me and gave me a huge hug while he giggled with glee and said, "Mama I *love* you. I love you *sooooo* much!!!"
And I found out that I'm just not as big a person as all those Unschoolers I read who talk about healing by doing for their kids what they didn't get as kids. My very small self/mind/whatever immediately went to that little girl who wanted guitar lessons, piano lessons (asked for and denied, then my younger brother-who wasn't at *all* interested-got them instead), singing lessons, an electric guitar and was not only not facilitated, not supported, not helped, not given the opportunity to expand her joy, but was indeed *ridiculed* instead. And tears trickled down my face into my hair.
I kept thinking about the "healing" I've read folks talking about and I tried to turn my deep sadness into healing, but I failed. I kept thinking of what I might have done had I been supported, even who I might have been... I figure it is highly unlikely that I would be the person I am today, and I rather like who I am... but *still*... niggling doubts...
One of the most intensely "me" part of who I am is singing. I love to sing. I sing all the time. I sang to Wyl when he was a baby, a toddler, even older. I used to sing to Storm when he was a baby, but as he got into toddler-hood, he would tell me, "Stop singing, Mama." :~) I was not offended. :~) Just 2 weeks ago, he asked me to again sing, "That song about night.... with the shiny star?" And after I sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, he asked me to sing it again. And then, one more time. I was thrilled! And then,
"Don't sing it again, Mama." :~)
And yet, as huge of a chunk of me as singing *is*, singing solo for people outside my immediate family (Dave, Wyl and Storm) is my biggest personal fear. Sometimes, I even fear singing where Dave can hear me. It is such a tug-of-war... this desire to share my love with everyone, and being terrified to. Terrified of rejection, of laughter, of judgement, of humiliation. Of *laughter*. Where did I ever get that idea? I can't *recall* ever having my singing laughed over. Me, yes, many times. I don't ever remember singing solo where anyone could hear me, actually. In choir, in an ensemble, yes, but of course, in group settings, one isn't singled out.
Okay. Maybe *this* is the healing part. My kids (hopefully!) will not feel that tearing of desire and fear tug-of-war. They will choose their interests based on what brings them satisfaction and happiness. Things will fall by the wayside by lack of further interest or another something that edges it out-*not* because they've been ridiculed or embarrassed into it.
Maybe. My heart *does* feel a wee less heavy. (pause, smile) Maybe I'll go sing some cheer into it. Too bad it's so late, or I could crank up the Cha-Cha Slide and dance *and* sing my heart into feather-lightness! Tomorrow, maybe... with my super-wonderful boys....