My four year-old son wears his big brother’s Spiderman costume everyday. And when I say everyday, I mean, every.single.day. I tend to pretend it’s incredibly dirty and lost somewhere in the bottom of the laundry pile. Even then, he still manages to beg for it until I relent to his pleading. No one can tell him he isn’t Spiderman. Especially when he dangles upside-down from the stair rails.
Spiderman is his newest super-hero obsession. Before, he was Batman and would only answer to“Bryce Wayne (his name is Bryce) when not in costume. We’ll into never forget the night spent in the ER after a failed attempt to rappel from the balcony. He hasn’t wanted to be Batman since then, and I suspect the fall had something to do with it.
It took a great deal of time and tears for me to embrace motherhood But since arriving to a place where I can step outside of self, I recognize that someone’s life is unfolding right in front of me. (It only took a decade to realize this but it’s awesome to witness). The most remarkable thing about kids is this unfamiliarity they have with limitations. I stops though right around 8 years old or so, when math gets more complicated, and they recognize the opposite sex as something more than they once were. This limitless attitude may be due to having a modest exposure to defeat.
Kids don’t fret at jumping from high ledges because they lack the experience of falling. How else would one know what they are capable of without first taking the first leap?
Around eight is, I believe, when a person is closest to their true self. When I was eight, I wanted nothing more than to be an actress. I felt in my heart of hearts the stage is where I belonged. I joined drama, I wrote cute little stories for monologues to practice. I even would stare at myself in the mirror and practice crying on cue.
Something happened to that dream. It think it has something to do with not accepting myself. Being incrediblty nerdy (I didn’t mention my braces, over-sized glasses and being first chair tuba player in the school band was added to being a drama-kid) was no way for a kid to live in 1991.
Now, I find myself trying to find that nerdy eight-year old girl I once was. After some time, I hit some invisible barrier that left me scrambling like hell to break through.
But, I suppose to have a breakthrough, you first have to see that the wall even exists.
If I met her now, I would say to her that failure is inevitable and simply the price you pay for playing the game and know that that not failing !== success.
So, if there is one snippet of wisdom I can pass on to each of my little ones it is this:
To my oldest, do not make decisions out of fear. Let your desires not your aversions be your guide. To number two, remember your eight-year-old-self. It may be difficult to find or recognize her again after she’s lost. To number three, continue to wear your heart on your sleeve, but be selective of whom you allow to come near it. And to my “Bryce Wayne” keep wearing your cape, and don’t be afraid to take another leap. This time, you just may fly.
If you had an opportunity to meet your eight-year-old self, what would you wish to tell yourself?