There have been so many moments of late where I have thought 'that would make a great blog entry' but before I get to write it down, another idea comes along. Unfortunately between the ideas I haven't had time or inclination to write! One that did strike me quite profoundly that has stayed me me in one form or another is the idea of constructing childhood. It started like this: we were visiting good family friends in the neighbouring town for a blissful six-hour lunch. It was one of those afternoons that could have gone on forever. On arrival our friends had planned an Easter egg hunt for the girls and they spent the rest of the day playing with the animals, domestic and farm. There was a look of pure joy in their faces and it was then that it dawned on me. They were creating memories, memories of visiting friends and sharing a meal and playing in a beautiful garden in the middle of nowhere. This memory was a direct result of a choice I had made - being that I had said yes to the invitation to lunch.
I remember the gatherings I attended as a child dragged around by my parents. My memories are a result of their choices and here I was doing the same to my girls. The idea of constructing their childhood struck me hard. Some things we actively work on, like diet and exercise, trying to construct a childhood we think will put them in good stead for life. For us, it is extremely important that they develop a good relationship with food and the idea of exercising daily is completely normal for them. We actively chose their school because of the philosophy of non-competition and character development. We choose to live in the country to offer them a simpler way of life. We choose to have them involved in all the work we do around the house and yard.
|Helping their dad to renovate!|
There are however, so many things that we don't get to choose and can't control. I'm working hard to try and learn to not let those things (and people) I can't control impact on my anxiety levels and general well being. Things like: what other children say to my big girl, whether or not anyone plays with her during the lunch break, what her teachers say when they are frustrated with her. And it's not just my big girl whose childhood is constructed by others. Those times we've been at the park and my middle girl has had to stand up and tell other children to stop being mean to her sister will not only form the construct of her childhood, but also her idea of what disability means. All of these things will combine together to construct her childhood, to create the memories that will stay with her for a lifetime. The power and the influence that others have in her life without even realising it is rather daunting really. It really brings home why I need to be her voice and her advocate. Do I let the world construct her understanding of herself? Do I let the world tell my middle girl and little Viking what their sister is worth? Hell no!
Today I was blessed to start a healthy living program with a local 'wellness' center. Over the next six weeks the other participants and I are going to learn about diet, exercise and mental fitness. Like most workshops I attend, I sat there thinking, 'but I know this already', though I am thrilled at the opportunity to be challenged to really incorporate the knowledge into practice. Here's hoping I can really use the next six weeks to reflect on the way I construct the childhood and personality of each of my girls.