Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mama with a Cape

"We all wake up in the morning wanting to live our lives the way we know we should. But we usually don't, in small ways. That's what makes a character like Batman so fascinating. He plays out our conflicts on a much larger scale."  
Christopher Nolan (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/batman.html)
 I feel different when I wear my Batman t-shirt with a cape: bolder, more confident, and happier. It never fails to excite my younger boys. I think everyone needs a cape in his/her repertoire, especially deschooling parents or those who find themselves wavering a bit on the unschooling path. The goal is not to become superwoman or superman, but to live life authentically.

A cape says:

I'm clued into what my children love.

My children (especially my younger boys) love everything Marvel and DC. I'm talking movies, guides, and video games. They know all the storylines. We watch Flash, Young Justice, Teen Titans, and The Batman. I know more about parallel universes, time wraiths, and the speed force than I could ever have imagined.

I remember how to play.

Nothing quite says let's play like a cape. It brings back memories of using clothes pins and towels as capes. My cousins would jump off the roof while pretending to fly. I'd forgotten how to play. I struggled when the boys asked me to role play or even build with Lego.

I'm comfortable being me.

A cape attracts attention. I've spent a lifetime feeling self-conscious. I have a need to meet some invisible standard of "acceptable" behavior. I'm constantly amazed how content my children are in their own skins. My response to them causes the discontent. Wearing my cape calms the inner voice that dictates proper behavior for an adult.

Silliness is okay. 

Children find everything funny. I use to find humor in everything before life became overwhelming. I felt free to let my big smile and laugh reign free. Now, I have a limit for silliness. I want to add more silliness.

I'm resilient.

Unschooling is serious business for me. I'm trying to enjoy life more. It's easy to let the world seep into our lives. I get caught up in there seemingly being so much to teach my kids before they enter the world. They're in the world now and experiencing so much. It's hard to keep my cynical, jaded views from negatively influencing their joy. I see Black Lives Matter,  the presidential elections, 13, homelessness, and the school to prison pipeline. We discuss these things, yet my children remain hopeful. They're wearing invisible capes, capes of resiliency. Batman's cape helps him glide through Gotham. It provides protection. I remind myself I don't quit because situations seem difficult or impossible. The principles of unschooling seem unattainable some days.There are times when I don't want to get out of the bed in the mornings. I sometimes need a serious do-over. Every day is a brand new opportunity to start over.

I want the joy my children exhibit.

I need to create opportunities for fun in my life. Life is so short, and the time I have with my children even shorter. Every time I squelch their joy and laughter our relationship is negatively affected. Until my children, I never knew what it meant to always have a song or dance inside you. I don't mean figuratively, but literally dancing or singing all by yourself in the grocery store, at the park, or just walking anywhere. They have what I want.

How much of the way we parent is filled with envy at the parts of ourselves we've lost, but that our children possess?