Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pretending sucks

I hate playing pretend.  There, I said it. It sucks.

I never thought I would be a mom who doesn't want to play pretend.  I also never thought I would hear myself say things like "enough rapping for tonight dear" to one of my kids.  Or think farting is funny, or watch America's Funniest Home Videos (and think it is funny too) and the list goes on.

But the anti-pretend thing surprises me.  

My daughter Lucy is the queen of pretend play.  That is absolutely all she wants to do.  As I have mentioned we are a sportsy kind of family.  A couple years ago I asked Lucy what she wanted to learn how to do--play soccer? tennis? basketball?  She replied "I want to learn to ride unicorns."  

Even though I don't want to play pretend, it doesn't necessarily mean I don't appreciate it.  I love that Lucy has an imagination the size of Texas (not a very imaginative comparison but you get the idea).  I encourage her pretend play.  I just can't do.  

I find it so much more fun to play catch in the backyard and more physical play like riding bikes, swimming, tag, kickball.  Luckily I am married to a man that isn't afraid to play pretend.  He and Lucy are pretend play buddies.  
A recent garage/yard sale Lucy dreamed up.  She quickly put her brothers to work.
And look who showed up....a customer, her dad in disguise.

Sometimes I feel left out and it bothers me.  Not enough to spend time pretending I am part of the spy ring that is trying to capture the villains and take them to the castle dungeon.  But enough to make me question my role.

I tried to talk to her about why I wanted her to play sports.  "I don't want you to feel pressure, but I want you to have choices," I told her.  I explained that I didn't feel like an athlete until I was an adult and discovered running and I felt that I had missed out on so many opportunities.  "I don't want you to miss out either sweetie," I told her.  She was moving her feet up and down on the vent in the wall to make music and wasn't listening to me at all.

Beyond frustrated I sent her away. 

I guess it surprises me how upset I feel about it.  Lucy is the only girl with three brothers.  I don't want her to be the girl that just tags along to watch her brothers play sports.  I don't want friends of her brothers to say "oh I didn't know you had a sister."

We watched a movie tonight, Secretariat.  I cried through a lot of it.  I had an ache in my heart through a lot of it.  Not because I am a horse lover.  Because the storyline of a mother going after her dreams and her identity outside of being a mom hit home.  And being an example of following your passion and showing your daughters to do the same hit home.

In a way only Disney can, the movie made me cry, cheer and want to be a better person.  Okay I got a little too into it.  But my god, when Diane Lane says "This is about life being ahead of you and you run at it" I clapped and yelled "that's right!"

My kids looked at me like I was insane.  JT got bored with the movie and left the room.  The pretend buddies were talking through parts of it while I shushed them.

When I tucked Lucy in tonight I asked her if she was happy.  She smiled up at me and said "of course" like she wouldn't know any other way to be.  Next I swear she sort of tossled my hair and gave me a look that said "you overthink things mom."  

Her insight surprises me.

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