I think probably every parent spends time wishing for things or circumstances that might make his or her child’s life better. Right? Right? …crickets…
Okay, maybe it’s just me.
But here’s what I wish I could give Selam:
a) a yard. I wish I could let her spend hours outside in a yard–jumping in leaves, riding a bike around in circles, chalk painting, blowing bubbles. I want to grow marigolds in the back yard and maybe even have a swing set. And magic fairies would come over to mow the lawn for us.
b) a basement. I want a space where arts and crafts projects can go nuts without damaging hard-wood floors.
c) a dog. She wants one so bad. Our lease doesn’t allow it, and probably more importantly, I do not want a dog. But I wish I could be the kind of mom that can give her kid a dog that, you know, goes home to its other family every night. Maybe I want joint custody on a dog.
d) a pool. Not in my backyard. I want a neighborhood pool, one where you can walk to every afternoon in the summer and see the same kids and same adults.
e) sometimes I want to give her siblings, which she very much wants, and which I would like her to have, but I think that ship has sailed.
f) a mom with a part-time job. I’d love to be able to spend summers with her.
So pretty much, without the dog, I want to give her my own suburban childhood.
But here are things that I can’t believe that I can give her:
a) travel. Since leaving Ethiopia, she’s been to Chicago, Fresno, St. Louis, New York City, Boston, Eastern Pennsylvania and Colorado. She’s seen the mountains and the ocean, small towns, big towns. She’s been to camp, to countless museums, two real concerts, and on planes, trains, and one (duck)boat. She’s seen the circus 4 times. She’s been on the subway. She’s seen a blizzard and a tropical storm. And she’s 5.
b) books. So many books. So, so, so, so, so many books.
c) people. She’s got friends from Sierra Leone, China, and India. She interacts every day with people of so many races, and who practice Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist faiths. Her classmates include the extremely rich and the poor. She thinks this diversity is just normal.
d) opportunities. She is in her second year of ballet/tap, and had a full year of swimming lessons (I hope to do an additional quarter of swimming beginning in January). She’s been on field trips in pre-school, and three days a week she goes to the JCC after school where her version of normal is playing on a play scape and swimming in an olympic sized pool
Not bad. Not bad at all.