I knew there would be moments that I’d feel like the worst parent in the world. That there would be times I’d look back and wish there was something I had or hadn’t done. That I would say something and instantaneously feel like a complete idiot. I knew it, but that doesn’t mean I was prepared it. I’d like to say this was the first time, but it wasn’t. And I know it won’t be the last.
Skylar’s preschool has a pretty structured morning drop-off routine. I hand the teacher Skylar’s lunchbox, hang up her coat in her cubby, then she goes and washes her hands. Next, she goes over to the dry-erase board and writes her name to sign in. Then we walk over to the easel containing the “Question of the Day”, which is usually a simple yes or no question. I read the question, then Skylar takes the magnet with her name on it and puts it under the answer she thinks is correct. Then it’s time for goodbye hugs and we’re off for the day.
As I was hanging up Skylar’s jacket on Friday, one of her teachers walked me over to the dry-erase board. She said, “We’re going to start working with Skylar on writing her name in lowercase letters. She’s really good at writing her name, but she usually uses all caps. Especially her ‘R’.”
To most parents, this would probably be exciting. Me? I was mortified.
See, while I wouldn’t consider myself an artist per say, I am slightly obsessed with typography, calligraphy, and the written English language as a whole. My handwriting changes every few months. I like to play with letters and create new styles. I enjoy addressing envelopes and I still journal by hand most nights.
My current “thing” is to make every letter “R” in uppercase. It doesn’t matter if it starts a sentence or makes an appearance in the middle of a word. It is R. Never r. I think I’ve always written Skylar’s name as: SkylAR. It looks much cooler when I write it by hand. I assure you.
So imagine my utter devastation upon learning that my one and only form of artistic expression may be the downfall of my child’s preschool career. Okay, okay. I might be overreacting just a little bit.
I think we each have things that hit us with some force. We know that children imitate their parents, but we each have a brutal “aha moment” when the matter becomes real to us. I guess I’m lucky that mine came in the form of an uppercase R at the end of a word rather than my daughter repeating unkind words in the middle of the grocery store.
My daughter is amazing and I’m betting your kid is pretty awesome too. They soak in everything, man. Kids are always on. Skylar’s memory astounds me daily. She observes the way I cross my legs, the way I say certain phrases, and–apparently–how I write each carefully crafted “R”.
We always tell our kids, “Hey, I’m watching you!” Then we make that motion with our fingers from our eyes to theirs. You know what I’m talking about. Well I think we’ve got it wrong. The truth is, our children watch us more intently than we will ever watch them. It’s time we noticed.