One of my favorite movies is Happy Feet. Apart from little Mumble’s cuteness, and the tenderness of the love story between him and Gloria, I love the movie because it shows the strife of one individual to find his mission in this life, no matter the cost. The scene that touches me the most, to the point of tears even though I’ve seen it countless of times, is when his parents take Mumble to the singing teacher for music lessons. His mother is worried that if he doesn’t know how to sing, he’ll never find his true love, and the teacher believes that she can teach Mumble to find his own heart song. I can see Mumble’s little face, yearning to please, to learn his heart song, to prove he is a penguin after all. The teacher explains how he needs to feel the song in his heart, and let it take over him, and even breaks into song herself to show him properly. Mumble takes a deep breath, and he starts to sing, but not with his voice, but his feet. The total joy and desire to express his feelings is so overwhelming that it spills out of the screen. Memphis (Mumble’s father) groans in frustration, but Norma Jean (his mom) laughs. The teacher claims the class is a fiasco while she faints, and Mumbles dances away.
In my relationship with my children I have been Memphis, Norma Jean and the teacher, in different circumstances. As every other mother, I want my children to be happy, productive people, but I want them also to be approved of and liked. At the same time I revel in their uniqueness and independence. Balancing all these desires is not an easy task. Where do I draw the line between letting them find their own mission in life, and leading them to what I think they will excel at?
If it were up to me, my boys would be soccer players who play the guitar and maybe even sing in a band. I’d love for them to know how to dance, speak well in public, maybe even win a Soccer World Cup or a Grammy. For the girls, I’d love to see them win a gold medal in gymnastics, or ballroom dancing, or an Academy Award. When it comes to my kids, I dream high.
I don’t doubt my children could achieve anything they set their minds to, but I wonder how much they do because they think Jeff and I will approve of them. What if they don’t think they’ll fulfill our expectations? Will they leave their own dreams on the way in order to pursue mine? I certainly hope not. I hope they feel we support them in whatever they do, whatever they choose. I know that is easier said than done, and I pray for help from above to lead me in my journey as a mother.
The other night my Gorgeous Boy was sent to bed and lost his chance to watch a movie because he was fighting with his sister. He obeyed without complain, but from the next room, I could hear him crying softly. My heart broke in a million pieces. I wanted him to learn a lesson, but at the same time I didn’t want to be the one to make him cry. I wanted to dry his tears, and tell him I loved him, and that I was on his side, forever. Growing up is hard for him, and for me. He’s my poor guinea pig, my poor beautiful boy, whom I love so unconditionally.
I want to dry his little boy’s tears, and help him and be with him when he becomes a man and needs someone to love him above all, in any circumstance in life. Last week a boy in our neighborhood committed suicide, and I wonder what was so bad, so irreparably broken that he didn’t think there was a solution for him. I didn’t even know his name, but on the night my son was crying because he couldn’t watch a movie, another boy was crying through a nightmare, the nature of which I cannot even fathom. I’ve seen this boy’s dad at church, and these last few days I’ve seen that poor man’s face in my mind wondering what was so wrong that his child didn’t feel it was worth being alive. I look at my son and wonder how I can shelter him from sorrow and heartache, how can I teach him he’s priceless, a treasure sent from heaven. I pray our Father in Heaven to lead him in his life journey, to help him find his heart song, and help him express it in his own way, and to help me learn to listen to it with my heart and celebrate it with my soul.
My beautiful boy; he sleeps like an angel, a smile lighting up his face. When he wakes, he’ll add one more note to the song of his heart. I know the melody will turn into a symphony, and I’ll dance to it whatever its genre; let it be classical, hip hop, reaggeaton, or even country. I’ll dance to it.