In raising our kids, one of the things that my husband and I have tried to stick with as much as humanly possible is to be a united front.
Granted, there will always be the person who riles up the kids before bedtime or allows one more extra hug after we thought the bedtime routine was over. We are only human, our kids are awfully cute and fun, and we want to give them as much as we can.
What we’re giving them this week is a vacation, complete with flights and no confirmed itinerary beyond the need to build at least one sandcastle.
In planning the trip, I asked my husband how we could justify the trip with all the things in the world being as they are, with dark clouds on all the horizons. He said, “I’d like to give them experiences of things that might not exist in the future.”
Whether it’s coral reefs or wars or another COVID-19 variant, all we have is now, and all we can give is us. We learned that after our road trip weekend vacation to Carlsbad Caverns. Majestic caves, a twilight flight of bats; my daughter drew the pool at the hotel where we all played together as the highlight of the trip.
I’d like my children to take joy from experiences, even when so many things feel like we’re on the brink of being irresponsible to enjoy.
In thinking, I realized that some experiences no longer exist or are things I cannot give, even I wish I could before life makes them as complicated as the rest of us. There is still simplicity in their souls, but there are other simple things that I’d wish for them.
I wish I could give them teenage years without the internet. I’d doom bad poetry and poor haircuts to maybe just one photo kept in an album that I can pull out when their children are interested.
I want to pull them away from the stream of judgment that affected so many millennial women. I explained to my husband the other day that beauty in our tweens and teens was being able to see your hipbones.
I wish I could give them the enjoyment of stillness before the bombardment of advertising and preconceived notions, meant only to eat up their time for profit but fed to them as fact. I want to wait to have to explain how others can lie to you enough that it starts to make you lie to yourself.
I wish to give them perfect health, but that’s impossible. But I’d like to hold each elected official accountable for their ability to provide universal health care, along with maternity and paternity leave. I hope that it’s not a fight that I must pass on to them to fight as well.
I wish for us to have an honest debate about college and their abilities. I want to foster their best, but if that best is not something that needs a college degree, then trade school might be the road they need.
Or, if they decide that their calling is to be a sheepherder in Spain, become a cop in Philadelphia, or be the local food bank manager, I want to be there to express my pride and my continued wish for their happiness.
I wish they had time to drive aimlessly in a car that is falling apart just a bit, where the air conditioner only works half the time. I want them to pick the direction they travel with no guilt, no fear and a chorus of laughter from friends in the seats.
I wish for them to know their place in history, the good, the bad, the terrifying, the humanity in all colors and understand that their ancestors are in their blood, mind-boggled at our ability to pull breath into our lungs in this borrowed time.
— Cassie McClure is a writer, wife/mama/daughter, fan of the Oxford comma, and drinker of tequila. Some of those things relate. She can be contacted at email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter: @TheCMcClure. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.