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Wish For Our Children, For Ourselves

Friday, October 21, 2011
Bob’s Java Hut
Minneapolis

If I had one wish for Oliver and Lucy, it would be that they remain exactly as they are, forever.  That they can hold on to their uniqueness, to their particular quirkiness, to their essence, to their particular dreams and ways of doing things.  Watching them grow into who they are meant to be, I learn about so much about myself, about my history, about who I really am.

Lucy is highly emotive, stubborn, luminous, easy to tilt her head back and laugh uproariously in one moment, and tilt her head back and scream furiously the next.  She smiles at and admires her reflection in the mirror–rats nest hair, stained tank top in 40 degree weather, my long-sleeved shirts pulled through the neck to her waist, sleeved wrapped around her and tied in the front–a style so beautifully her own.

Oliver is sensitive, social, and wise beyond his years.  His big hair bobs as he runs and taps his “happy feet,” always moving, always thinking, always philosophizing about life and death, about God and the most powerful Pokemon cards.  A first grader, he takes pride in the work that comes home in his “Friday Folder,” and in the homework he earnestly finishes at our kitchen table.  His little body growing muscles, looking more and more like his father every day, he still carries Sheepy and Scorpie, their innocent and worn faces still peeking out of the crook of his arm and out of the covers of his bed each night.

While Oliver is just beginning to grow conscious of himself, in other words, self-conscious, Lucy is still wonderfully oblivious and about how she is perceived.

If I had one wish, it would be that they remain fully who they are.  That they never hope to be someone else or like someone else.  That they bring their gifts into this world with brave and wild abandon.

I reflect back and wonder what I was like back then, before I overheard my friend whisper to my other friend in the hallway of my junior high that my clothes didn’t match–the outfit I had saved my paper route money for, the colorful outfit that, until that very moment, I loved.  I wonder what it was like before the wordless shame crept into my conscious that I was different, that I was somehow a little off, a little goofy, not like others.  When did it seep into my head that different was wrong?

I am a 39 year old woman of two young children, my right pant leg rolled up so I don’t get it caught in my bike chain, like I’ve been doing since I began riding on two wheels.  It is just now, almost in my fourth decade, that I am learning how to be exactly who I am, boldly, without apologies, with wild abandon.  And it is my children who are my teachers, teaching me the way back to exactly who I am.

If I had one wish for our children and for ourselves, it would be that we can remain exactly who we are, so we can shine all of our light into this world, all of our being into this world, as it is meant to be.

  1. Always inspiring me Janna! Your wonderfully unique and wonderfully special!!!

  2. You are beautiful in everyway you are. Thnaks for the wonderful words.

  3. Janna, I randomly found your website online and enjoy following your posts. As a mother of 3, two of which are grown, I have spent years wondering what did I do to deserve such amazing children. I feel I can take little credit for the loving, contributing humans they have (and are) becoming. The other day, while discussing this with my 13yr old, I asked her, ‘Do you feel I can take any credit? I believe you all just were given to me, already amazing.’ Her answer to me, without hesitation was, ‘You just let us be who we are, and not too many kids get that offered to them.’…blew me away. Janna…your awareness will provide your kids the safe space to ‘be’ who they are and find their comfort in what they find. Your writing is very, very thought provoking, engaging and just spot on! I really enjoy the thoughts you come into and share. keep up the good work, as a writer…but more so, as a mother!
    Sheri

  4. Who WAS that mean girl? Yuck! You rock. And you have definiately always had your own unique style. You just might not have known it…. I like to think I helped you earn the bucks for that awesome getup some saturday morning at the crack of dawn. FFor this reason I am presonally offended that some nitwit made a rude comment. YOU ROCKED IT!!!!!Some of my very fondest memories of those impressionable years are with you at an ungodly hour schlepping newspapers in your neighborhood.

  5. You shine tremendous light onto this world!!! Thanks for your wonderful words.

    • Oh, bless your heart. Thank you Julie. You are sending this at a perfect time…

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