As the kids are getting older and are having more experiences outside the home, I begin to wonder how those experiences will shape their lives. Pen had her first real catty girlfriend drama this year and I can see how it has changed her. Ginger has always gotten a lot of attention from boys, even in preschool they would fight over who got to play with her, sit next to her, etc. I'll never forget when she announced to me one day after preschool that she had figured out how much the boys liked her and that they would do whatever she asked them to do. Frightening! (Really, does anybody speak girl?)
All of this thinking got me started on some introspection. How had my experiences shaped me? I have always been really shy. As a kid this would often manifest itself with a kick to someone's shins and a quick retreat (I know one person in particular that used to wear shin guards to church). I was always playing with boys, and was pretty comfortable around my friends, but when I hit middle school things changed. Girls didn't play with boys anymore so I was thrust into Girldom. I was overwhelmed by the ways of girls and assumed that every girl was prettier, funnier, cooler than me. I clammed up. I couldn't do girl-speak. I was sure that people would make fun of me if I tried to talk to them.
Near the end of 8th grade, I overheard two girls talking about me. They were saying what a snob I was and that I thought I was so much cooler than everyone else. I was shocked that I had been so misunderstood! I vowed then and there that starting in 9th grade I would be different, I would be outgoing and friendly. Anyway, so people who know me now think I'm kidding when I say that I am shy, but it's still true. I have to think about it less, but every day I still have to make decisions about which route to take. Do I wave at the neighbor, or pretend I don't see them? Do I smile and chat with the checker at the store, or pretend to be occupied with my kids?
How different would my life be if I hadn't overheard that conversation? Would I have tried harder in high school if I hadn't been made fun of for my straight A's? How different would it be if I hadn't married Rophone-- if I had married someone who cared how skinny (or not) I was, or who hated it when I beat them at sports? Lucky for me I married someone who loves me no matter how I look and brags to his friends that I can beat him at sports. Rophone is the right one for me.
These are the types of things that I know will shape my kids and change their lives. I can't wait to see who they turn out to be.
Here's a real deep thought to lighten things up a bit (from Auntie Art's MySpace page):
"Maybe in order to understand mankind we have to look at that word itself. MANKIND. Basically, it's made up of two separate words "mank" and "ind". What do these words mean? It's a mystery and that's why so is mankind."