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Monday, March 7, 2011

What Do Kids Know?

It's a question I think every parent wonders. I wonder often and then I find myself amazed at what they do know. They are a fountain of knowledge, teaching me things I either forgot or never learned. Kids are taught a lot more at a much younger age than I remember from my own youth. I watch in quiet wonderment the workings of my kids' brains. It is an amazing piece of machinery, a kid's brain -what knowledge can be packed in there!

One area where I think kids lack knowledge, though, is about their parents. I don't think my kids know too much about me. Some of that is necessary. Our kids don't need to know all of the gory details of our lives. They are our kids not our friends, not yet at least - not while we are still in the throes of raising them. I think kids need to know, though, parents are people. I want my kids to know that I am human. I make mistakes. I screw up. I apologize. I get sad. I cry. I have dreams for myself, still. I have passions, things I want to do, places I want to go, life I want to live to the fullest. I want my kids to know this about me. I don't want them to just think of me as someone who puts food on the table and yells at them when they don't do something right. I want them to know me as a person, not just a mom.

I think back on my youth and I don't remember seeing my mom or my dad cry, ever. I remember a lot of laughter during our many parties, frustration when we screwed up and anger when we misbehaved. I don't remember any sadness. It wasn't because of a lack of sadness. I am sure there was sadness, in life there is always sadness and despair. I just don't remember my parents ever showing it in front of me. I don't remember my parents talking about things they wanted to do, dreams they had. I didn't know my parents as people, just mom and dad. Maybe it was because of the drudgery of everyday life or maybe it was just how it was "way back in the day" but I think parents deserve more than just being thought of as mom and dad. Mom and dad are great titles and I am proud to be a mom but I am also proud to be Jenni and I want my kids to know me. I am getting to know my parents' histories and stories now that I am a semi-grown up but I think how much richer life would be for everyone if kids got to know some of their parents' histories and stories while they are happening.

My kids have seen all sorts of sides of me, the happy, the wacky, the sad, the angry, the pensive and the tired. I want them to know Stan and me as people. I want them to understand that beneath the titles of mom and dad beats the hearts of Jenni and Stan. I think they understand it, a little. I will keep telling my story and letting them learn about me so when they grow up they can think back on their childhood and have some history to pass on to their own children. Then they can do everything for the love of their children...

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