My Kids Aren’t Me

Me in 2nd grade at the peak of my boy chasing career.I always think my kids will like the things I like.

I was a water baby. I lived in the ocean as a kid visiting my grandma-Santa-Barbara every summer.

I loved camping. The mildewy smell of a tent in the early morning mist; the catching, skinning, gutting, cooking and eating of Blue Gill out of Lake Cachuma.

It thrilled me to let all the air out of my lungs and sink to the floor of our swimming pool, where I could hold my breath longer than my older stepbrothers could.

I liked chasing boys, pinning them to the ground and kissing them during second grade recess, but had to give it up after the principal talked to my parents.

I adored sitting on the bow-sprit of my mom and second-stepdad’s 35-foot Catch, sailing into the San Francisco Bay as the lights came on in the city.

I always think it’s sad my kids aren’t garnering these same memories.

Sometimes, I try to get them to like what I like, to make the same memories — like the time I forced Clare to come out into the ocean with me to catch a ride on a boogie board back to shore.

Boy, was she ticked off.

I worry my kids aren’t outside enough, and that maybe I should be more comfortable being a free-range mom.

But, living right smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles, I just don’t feel good cutting them loose on the bikes for the day.

Too many speeding cars, too many strangers passing through.

The other day, as I was feeling inadequate about the way my kids are spending their summer, I came across this at 3 p.m.

Ro dad sleep

Looking at this photo of Clare and her daddy, one word came to mind: “Summer.”

In all of its lassitude, relaxation and free time.

My kids aren’t me, and that’s okay. They have their own likes, their own rituals and they are recording all of their own memories, which may be just as magical and wondrous as mine. xo

11 thoughts on “My Kids Aren’t Me”

  1. Jasmine Forte

    I love that photo!!!! The lazy days of Summer! LOL! That nap was just as magical and memorable as any other Summer memory! 🙂

  2. I was heartbroken that my daughter didn’t like Barbie dolls, but I got over it when she started to do musical theater.

    I’ve told my kids so much about my childhood that sometimes I wonder if they don’t feel like they knew me when I was their age, much like I feel about my mother…

  3. I can definitely relate. I grew up in the Virginia. We could ride bikes and explore and go to the river and not be so supervised. My kids are growing up in NY and I am extremely overprotective. They are young but I know I will always be. I just hope that their memories of summer are still wonderful.

    1. I’m with you Shelley. Our neighborhood is centrally located in L.A. Unfortunately we have a lot of mentally ill homeless people coming and going and while they are absolutely harmless most of the time (albeit heartbreaking) I want my kids to be older when they walk the hood.

  4. Love this! I spent many a day wondering why my daughter didn’t love Nancy Drew! Books were my thing and finally now as a teenager I think she’s coming around to reading. I learned something as well…I spent too much time wondering why my kids weren’t like me and I almost missed “the stuff that made them who they are.”

    1. Exactly. This post prompted a talk with my daughter last night before bed where I told her I wasn’t going to try to convince her to like what I like, but rather celebrate the things she uniquely enjoys. It opened a nice space between us. Sometimes this blogging regimen can trigger good stuff.

  5. I’ve realized that about my mom, actually. I started to notice ways in which she doesn’t see that I don’t have the same history that she does.

    Like when I first started practicing Hinduism and I confided in her that I felt really self-conscious at the temple, since it was rather unfamiliar. She suggested I could just be Catholic, even though I’ve only been inside a Catholic church once. It really hit me that she forgets that she was raised Catholic, but I was not!

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