I got one of those awful surveys from my girlfriend the other day. You know, the ones that ask you to take out the last person's answers and put yours in? They ask questions like your favorite television show, the best place you've ever been on vacation, the color of your underwear. Every time I get one, one thing always occurs to me:
I don't care that Michelle in Manasquan watches "Dances With the Stars." I don't care that Judy in Las Vegas drinks diet caffeine free Mountain Dew with a slice of lime, or that Lola from Poughkeepsie sleeps with her dog (although the image is enough to disturb me). So why would I expect a bunch of strangers to care that if it were nutritionally acceptable, I would consume Cap'n Crunch Berries by the peck?
The last question on the survey is always the same, and always has my name on the line: "Who is most likely to not send this back?" It's true. I don't send them back, because I am not so filled with self-importance that I would force my cereal proclivities on others.
That's why blogging is hard for me. As a blogger, you have to assume that other people care about what you have to say. But as a person, there are only two places where I expect to be listened to: my house, and my classroom. Other than that, I can usually be found at any social or sporting event with my mouth shut, keeping my opinions to myself.
I attended my son's soccer game a few weeks back, and I watched from a distant fence as he got his first official school goal. I watched him celebrate with his teammates as the crowd stood and clapped for him. What a great moment for a mother, to watch her child experience true unbridled joy. His happiness seeped all the way down the field and into my heart.
My other son approached me and asked me if I saw his twin brother's goal and I smiled and said yes. He sardonically replied,
"Geez, Mom, try to control your excitement."
Ok, so I'm internal. I don't yell or scream out my sons' accomplishments, they are what they are. And I found it ironic that when he scored, people turned to look at me, as if his goal had anything to do with me.
I'm not that mom on the sidelines with the beach chair, talking about infields and strikers. I watch. And wander. And stand amazed that someone as ordinary as I am created these tall, gorgeous blonde brilliant creatures.
During wrestling season, I sit as far away from the mats as possible. Baseball season will find me nowhere near the bleachers, but on a deck in front of the snack stand. It has a great view. My husband calls me anti-social, and that may be true. I have very little use for most people or pleasantries, and it's a flaw I'm working on. But it's also that I want to watch my sons play their sports without any verbal interference.
I look at my sons' accomplishments as a result of their own hard work, and internal motivation. Sure, I raise them. And I hope I'm doing a good job. But when they're out on a field or a mat, it's what they create from their heart and soul that drives them. I know I'm in the minority, and a lot of loving well-meaning mothers cheer their kids on vociferously, and the kids love it. But that's not me. And my sons understand. My support is quiet and strong, and ever-present.
Some parents need that outside validation. It's like those Christmas newsletters some parents (usually mothers - c'mon, you know it's true...) publish every year, with the pretty festive borders. They publish every accomplishment their kid has had since he's been potty trained.
"Johnny is traveling to Ireland to play lacrosse!"
"Cindy is performing 'The Nutcracker!'"
"Lionel just grew a really great cool tooth!"
"Sammy got into Harvard, Judy is going to be a fighter pilot, and I think my kids are so awesome and better than yours I just had to put this newsletter out to rub it in your face!"
Ok, maybe that's a little extreme. But my sons' accomplishments speak for themselves. I can't imagine a time when I would feel the urge to publish them, mail them, and foist them on family and friends.
I'm not even sure what this blog is about. Perhaps it's a little hypocritical that I claim to not feel the need to shout my love for my sons from the rooftops. But perhaps by blogging about it on the Internet, I just did.
But I don't care. I just know my kids are the greatest. And that's a great feeling.