Thursday, October 8, 2015

Raising An Only - When Your Kid Is Not Like You

When you have more than one kid, most times, you get one like you, and one like the kid's other parent.  My Kid is like her dad - academically smart, can name any song from any era within the first three notes, tightwad with their money (oh, sweet Jesus, tightwads, both of them).  It kind of leaves me out in the dust because I am none of these.

Growing up, my life was made up of basketball, volleyball and doing my best to make it through high school with enough of a grade point average to get me into some small, unknown college.

My kid, on the other hand, is into anything that involves a music instrument, music program and is attending college classes at a real college at the age of sixteen.  Taking advanced English, calculus and music classes.

In other words, I have no idea how they switched her at birth when she never left the hospital room I was in.  I did fall asleep for half an hour.  Maybe they did it then.

That's gotta be it.

Because I don't relate to this kid one iota.

When she was younger and much more influential, I signed her up for soccer, basketball and ski lessons.  She snapped on skis at age three and we let her go from the top of the hill (I wish I could say I'm kidding, but, really, that's sorta how it happened.  Dad was right with her, though, so you don't have to go calling CPS.).  At five she was playing basketball AND soccer and, by eight, she was playing both on the same day.  Talk about an over achiever (her or me, that could have gone either way).  She loved it at the time because it was what she knew.  She was with friends and getting more exercises than she knew what to do with.  It was all a game (literally).

This was all before she got her hands on a clarinet in fourth grade.

By sixth grade, the sports were dropping like flies.

Sixth grade, she dropped select basketball.

Seventh grade, she decided she was not going to play select soccer.  

Seventh grade brought in an alto saxophone.

Eighth grade us parental units had to tell the coach she wasn't going to sign up for middle school soccer because The Teenager was too scared too (she had good reason; I'm still scared to see that lady).

By ninth grade The Kid had accumulated a saxophone, flute, oboe, trumpet and trombone and was spending her summer in music camps and music classes, and dropped basketball.

Today, a Junior in High School, she plays three instruments for her high school, in three programs, is in three adult music programs, as well as a junior orchestra (on top of being a 4.0 student at High School and taking three college classes at the local college.

In the interim, in 2014, the Seattle Seahawks, our state football team, made it to the Super Bowl.  They were playing the Denver Broncos and kicking some serious Bronco ass.  Friends and family were all at the house and we weren't exactly quiet and we yelled them on.  In the third quarter The Teenager came out of her room.

"Why are you guys yelling?" she asked.

"The Hawks are kicking Denver's butt," one of us said to her.

"Are they in the Super Bowl or something?"

What the HELL, I thought.  Who is this kid to not even know this?  I mean, we have been wearing our Hawks shirt every day for weeks, there are "12" flags on every house and car and pet in the state.  The news, radio, Internet, reader boards, supermarket, hardware store, mall, was plastered with information about the season.  People were getting Super Bowl XLVIII tattoos already.

And my kid asks "are they in the Super Bowl or something?"

But this was not her bent.

It was mine.

Her bent is music, something I know nothing about.  I can finally get the right saxophone reeds (alto, not baritone, 3.5 not 3) and know the difference between a hard or medium, wood or plastic oboe reeds.  I know the big case is the sax, the smaller one is the oboe and the tiny long one is the flute.  I don't know what the other two under her bed are, though, because she collects instruments like I collect coats.

 I support her in whatever she does, including paying more for an oboe than I would have for her first car.  I attend all the concerts.  I've gone to marching band competitions in the pouring down rain and tried to "get" the movements. I've paid for music camps rather than update my kitchen because it's important to her to get better at her music (although now that she can get a job, I need a new kitchen, dammit).

I even embraced the same question when the Hawks made the Super Bowl in 2015: "What are you guys watching?"  

This is her bent, not mine.  I've always said I didn't give birth to her thinking I would get to keep her.  I also know I get my life to live, she gets hers.



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