Jane Yee: Hopes and dreams
My baby ignores me. I guess I should cut him some slack - what with him being a baby and all - but still, it's not nice when you're talking to someone and instead of listening to you they choose to throw things at the dog.
Now because my son has not yet grasped this paying-attention-to-mum thing, I have to be sneaky about when I get all sentimental with him - because the only thing worse than being ignored is being ignored when you're trying to be deep and meaningful. My solution? I wait until he is asleep. That way I figure my earnest sentiments can filter into his subconscious while he slumbers, and my words are far less likely to be met with hair-pulling and high pitched squeals.
You're probably picturing me being all creepy and kneeling next to his cot, imparting words of great wisdom through the bars while he blissfully snoozes away, but that's generally not my modus operandi. Okay, I may have done that once or twice, but I usually reserve my sentimentalities for late night feeds.
So there he is, nestled in my arms, sleepily feeding away. While we snuggle in close I whisper heartfelt mum things like "my darling, I love you more than you'll ever know," or "we feel so lucky you came into our lives," and my personal favourite "when you grow up you can be whatever you want to be, mummy just wants you to be happy and healthy".
It sounds picture perfect doesn't it? But there, in those tender moments, as we sit rocking in the gentle glow of the hall light filtering into his room through a crack in the door, I am actually straight up lying to my child. Of course I love him, and of course we're lucky to have him, but you see that last part about just wanting him to be happy and healthy? Well it sounds good in theory, and certainly like the right thing to say, but it's not entirely true.
Yes I absolutely want him to be happy and healthy, it's the "just" bit that's misleading - I'd be telling porkies if I said I don't also have hopes and dreams for my son. Let's face it, I'd be extremely disappointed if he decided to open a brothel or if he joined a gang. I am not keen on him becoming a boy racer, mostly because I don't like the thought of him speeding but also I'm not keen on the idea of a rotary engine pulling into the driveway in the wee hours of the morning.
I'd be bummed out if he took up smoking after I battled for so many years to quit, and if he even thinks about getting into drugs he'll be up for a good clip around the ears.
I want him to find true love one day, and when he does I want him to treat his special someone with adoration and respect. I also want him to treat his parents with respect, and for him to join us for a Sunday roast even after he's moved out of home.
I hope he takes his education seriously, and I hope he doesn't take for granted all the opportunities that will come his way.
Secretly I'd quite like it if he enjoyed sport, because I was never adept at physical activities and I always wish I'd made more of an effort. I'd also like him to get involved with music... and theatre... and musical theatre. Would I like him to land a role on Broadway to realise my own unfulfilled childhood dream? Look, he's his own person and I don't want to mess with that so I won't be actively encouraging... bah, who am I kidding? Of course I would!
I know, from my own experience as a stubborn human being, the reality is Victor will end up doing whatever the heck he wants to do. I will do my best to steer him in the direction of good manners, common sense and compassion for others, but the rest of the journey will be up to him. You know how the saying goes - you can lead a horse to Broadway, but you can't make it sing...
I think it's perfectly normal for parents to have hopes and dreams for their kids, but I know deep down that no matter what I want for him, Victor will forge his own path in life. That's why there's no point in whispering anything other than "we just want you to be happy and healthy" - even if I really want to add "and the next great Jean Valjean".
If you're honest, what do you genuinely want out of life for your children? And what are some of the things you hope for them in a no-pressure kind of way? Music, sports, taking over the family business etc...