I have three amazing kids. No, really. I know a lot of people like to tell you how great their kids are but usually they are just shining you on to make themselves look better as parents. Harsh, but true. *Bluntly honest disclaimer: I know I’m a flawed parent and I’m not afraid to admit it…
…so I’m not looking for any glory here – I am truly amazed by these little humans that were once residents inside my body. And I’m amazed because I don’t remember having my shit together – at all – back when I was their ages. Seriously…I had no clue what I wanted to be when I was 15 or 17. I was trying to figure out, and mostly failing at, the mundane shit like high school Algebra, Sadie Hawkins dances, and registering for community college.
But these kids seem to know so much more than I ever did. Wyatt is on the brink of a military career that could take him to all points of the earth doing things I don’t even want to think about. Kate has not wavered from her goal of becoming an archeologist and she has her senior year of classes forecasted and a solid plan for colleges after that. Abby, she has her sights set on military college…the only piece of that plan that has changed over the last year is that now she’s leaning toward West Point instead of Annapolis. Who are these determined little people and how did they come, in part, from me?
So, as befuddled as I am that I had anything to do with the awesome humans that seem to be going forth from our home, I am going to say this: we raise warriors. Yes, Wyatt literally is a warrior. Watching him go through his training this last year has been daunting as a parent. He literally has no quit inside. As a parent, I’m so proud to watch him push through every obstacle that has been put in front of him and not just conquer, but excel, at his training. As a human being though, I feel a bit ashamed that I’m not as strong as he is. It’s humbling to watch your child go so much further at age 19 than you have in your entire lifetime. He literally makes me want to be a better person.
But we are raising three warriors in this house. Kate and Abby are very much cut from the same olive drab cloth that Wyatt wears so easily. My girls are not afraid of physical contact, they rough house and play sports that require a high level of contact. They know their bodies and understand that they can take blows and be fine. See…all of you parents that gave me the side-eye one the soccer sidelines when I would yell that they were fine after blocking a shot with their bodies….see! They know that they are strong! And that’s both intangible and invaluable, especially for teenage girls.
But being a warrior is more than physicality. All three of these kids hold a strong sense of justice and a willingness to defend others. They are even more than warriors…they are sheepdogs:
If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed. (On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs – Grossman)
We’ve managed to ingrain in them enough of a distain for mainstream anything that they don’t seem to be swayed by the whims of society. They are free to follow their moral code, even when their peers are not, simply because they don’t care that they are swimming upstream. Granted, this is a double-edged sword….because they also tend to be snarky little anti-social humans. But, I’m OK with that.
So, however it happened, I’m pretty freakin’ proud of my kids. Not because they are necessarily a reflection of me or my parenting skills (*see above disclaimer), but because they are better than me. They are the true meaning of the phrase “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”…they’ve taken what Mike & I had to offer and somehow made it so much better. And I can’t wait to see the awesome things these sheepdogs do as they enter the world.