One of my favorite movie lines is from the movie Little Miss Sunshine. After seeing all the other beauty contestants perform, Olive’s family tries to discourage the chubby,uncoordinated, giant glasses wearing little girl from dancing in the beauty pageant. After pleading with her in an attempt to avoid the embarrassment, mom finally says to everyone, “We just need to let Olive be Olive.” Carter reminds me everyday to accept him as he is. I continually try to encourage him to be something he is not. Why do I do that? I just need to let Carter be Carter. Now that I think about it, as a mom, I try to fit my kids into my version of who they should be all the time. I realize to a point, that is part of my job as a mom, especially when they were little. I mean if we didn’t do some of that when they were little they would still be picking their nose, wearing the same underwear for days,and never showering (remember I was raising boys, I know that would never be an issue if I had girls) Shaping them into responsible, hygienic humans is our job, right? But there comes a time as a mom when I realize there is only so much I can mold. I need to just sit back, enjoy, and appreciate the person they are. I need to stop trying to defend him to others too. He is who he is. He would rather be water boarded than go to a high school football game or a homecoming dance. Why does that bother me? I would never force my ultra social child to sit home on a friday night alone. Why would I force my introverted one to join the masses of screaming adolescence when he is most content at home? I realize there is a fine line that I need to walk as a parent. I know It is my job to push them out of their comfort zone, get them try new things, challenge themselves and grow; but I could prune an oak tree all day long and it will never grow back as anything other than an oak tree. (Which reminds me of the time I hired a guy to clean up my back yard and told him to pull out the giant weed growing in the middle of my flower bed. “Lady”, he said,”that is not a weed, it is an oak tree.” And a beautiful oak tree it is today!)
Olive goes on to perform in her beauty pageant. I would never be able to do the scene justice by writing about it, but the celebration at the end is how I want to be with my boys. Instead of pulling them off the stage because they are not performing like I think they should, I want to have a dance party in support of who they are and what they do….even if it doesn’t fit in my version of how it should be.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
For those of you who are introverts or raising introverts, I highly recommend the book Quiet:The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain