"I want to learn how to ride a unicorn."
This is a famous Lucy quote. She was five years old when she said this in reply to this question, er, series of questions: "Honey, what sport do you want to play? Soccer? Tennis? What do you want to sign up for? What do you want to learn to do?"
While I love my daughter's imagination and creative thinking, it can also be maddening. We have never pushed her to join a group or a team. Encouraged? Yes, but never pushed or pressured. Lucy is a brilliant, funny, creative, brave little girl. I've always thought/known she was a go-to-the-beat-of-her-own-drum kind of girl, which I can kind of relate to.
|Lucy is a throw your head back and soak it up kind of kid. |
"Mom, I LOVE being alive!," she exclaimed while we were on a nature walk the other day.
But in this world of Tiger Moms and Helicopter Parents, I feel conflicted. I don't know if I should be pressuring her more, pushing her more. I don't care if she is the best tennis player or the best actress in community theater, I just want her to feel connected. I want her to have a place where she belongs. I want her to have a group she is a part of. I want her to know how wonderful she is. I want her to hold onto this sense of wonder and joy forever. I want her to have opportunities to express her self and learn and grow and shine and share that something, that special something about Lucy.
"Guess what, you are going to an audition," I told her yesterday.
"No I'm not," she replied.
I knew she wouldn't be thrilled with my great idea of trying out for the youth theater down the road. I mean come on! Lucy plus drama + creative people + audience= perfect combination. But Lucy is more street performer than theat-ah diva. She is the girl that goes for the laugh or the look from strangers in line at the grocery store or on the playground rather than the school play. She is the girl that likes making her own rules, being her own group, getting lost in her own imagination. And again, I totally get it, but I'm the parent, I'm supposed to push and pressure, right?
"I'm not going and you can't make me," she said both defiant and hurt, with how-could-you?-sad-eyes, like I had just told her we weren't going to celebrate Christmas anymore.
Our "discussion" went on for a long time and neither one of us walked away feeling very happy.
I explained how I wanted her to try new things, how it gets harder to try new things as you get older, how much I love her, how I want good things for her.
"Thank you, but the answer is still no," she said.
For a minute I turned into a wacky mom from a bad reality show and promised milkshakes and presents if she'd just go to the damn audition for Christ's sake. But only her brothers got into that idea, pleading with her to go so they could all get milkshakes. Lucy was unimpressed and called me out on my bribing tactics.
After a few tears (mine) and some time, I stopped fighting it and she did not go to the audition. While I struggled to let it go, she moved on. She moved on to writing stories and making up stories. She and Wade were candy superheros at her brother's baseball game, fighting crime with their secret weapon--Swedish Fish-- and her pink cape/scarf/headdress.
She came over to me at the game to talk. I thought it might be about
"Do you know how to read comic books?," she asked/challenged, handing me a comic book she just happened to have in her bag.
I read with gusto and she replied, "Not bad mom, not bad at all, for a grown up."
There's just something about Lucy. She's magic and light, wit and wonder.
But I will still try to get her to audition next year. I mean right?