Recently Joe and I went to conferences for all three of our kids.......that's right, all three in school. It's glorious and wonderful and weird and sometimes sad but mostly good.
To be honest we weren't sure what to expect. We were on the fence about sending Cesca to kindergarten so we were wondering how that was going. Nico has been a challenge lately at home. It seems we did THE MOST HORRIBLE THING IN THE WORLD by not conceiving, adopting or picking up at the store another boy child. WHAT ON EARTH WERE WE THINKING?!? Obviously, we weren't thinking solely of Nico's need for another human to play sports with. So there's that. And, well, Fia........she's a first born girl. No surprises at conferences there. We were just hoping that she was participating more.
Our kids save their VERY BEST SELVES for school.
What the heck?!?
Turns out Francesca listens, is very quiet and serious, has lots of friends and works hard.
You mean that child who SCREAMS and CRIES at the drop of a hat at home?
The one who when the tv gets turned off at Grandma and Grandpa's house after ONLY ONE SHOW will open her mouth wide enough to fit an entire cantaloupe in and SCREAM at the injustice of JUST ONE DISNEY SHOW (This is when all the judgy parents and childless people will say then she would get NO tv........I know this because I used to be one. Judge away, my friends, judge away. I encourage your blissful ignorance :)
Turns out she's just a superb little kindergartener and we made the absolute right decision sending her. Thank you, Mrs. B.
Then it's off to Nico's conference............surely we will have some news at this one.
Mrs. Frantum sits down and gets a bit teary-eyed as she tells us how HELPFUL and KIND and WELL-BEHAVED Nico is, how he is the kid that will help anyone without asking, that when a girl spilled her water bottle and everyone else was in line ready to go that Nico ran to get paper towels and wiped it all up without any asking him to. Also, he is so willing to help kids with their work, that Mrs. Frantum will pair him with *ahem* a "challenging" student (ie an irritating one - my words not hers......she is the nicest teacher and would never say such a thing, truly) and he will help without complaining.
You mean that child who gets up in the morning planning out how to torture and IRRITATE his sisters to no end?
You mean that child when you ask him to wipe up a mess on OUR floor will ask where we keep the towels and say I CAN'T DO THIS?!?
You mean that child who rolls his eyes and challenges us on every front and will scream when frustrated? THAT CHILD?
Turns out he's an angel at school. EVEN WON THE CHARACTER COUNTS AWARD FOR THE SCHOOL. OH MY WORD.
Then it's off to Fia's conference..............I'm almost scared. What if SHE'S the problem student now?
Mrs. Cook has nothing but good things to say. She works hard. Pays attention. Has great grades. All of it. Whole package.
No surprise but certainly not indicative of the eye-rolling, brother-baiting, emotional roller coaster we experience at home.
Turns out our kids?...............well, they're a lot like we are as adults. I don't know about you but I save my VERY BEST SELF for when I am around those I know the least or the ones that are "grading" me, for my boss, for the people I work with, for those outside my immediate circle.
My family? My close friends?
They could have some stories for you. Those unguarded, emotional, tired, cranky, every day moments.......those moments are set free in the presence of those I love the most.
And this actually isn't a post about oh why don't we treat those we love most the best? Why do we save it for those we love least?
Well, because it would be weird. I hardly want to encourage acquaintances to start EMOTING all over me and around me. Can you imagine? What if we began to treat everyone like we do our family, our close friends?
There has to be so much TRUST and LOVE to expose our less than best selves to people and when we do that? Well, that is when we are challenged to grow, to change, to become the BEST version of ourself that we can.
I am so glad that my kids are doing well in school. I'm glad their teachers see their BEST selves. But I'm also glad that they feel safe and loved and trust us enough to show their LESS then best self at home.
Home can the place where they can just be their self - any version of self that they are being at any given moment because ultimately it is not their BEST self that I love..........it's ALL of them that I love.