For the kids

I guess I am a typical mom. Like many out there, I worried if we did enough for our kids. Did we give them a foundation to be successful in this competitive world? Did we get them involved in the right activity, at the right age? Would they feel capable and proud of themselves even when hearing about what others were doing or would they feel shortchanged?

So, like many parents out there, I looked at little activities to widen my children’s horizons. This ended up becoming more important than I could have imagined when our home life took the path of dealing with a severe medical condition.

When times became hard, I felt a strong need for the kids’ world to be larger than family functions, hospitals and school. I wanted them to have something that solely belonged to them. I honestly did not care what it was as long as it was legal and moral. I did want them to either strengthen their body, their mind or their talent.

My oldest was lucky. She found one of her cherished activities when she was about 6 years old and continued doing it until she left for college.

our little dancer/ notre petite danceuse
Our little dancer/Notre petite danseuse

My second had tried a few activities but nothing seemed to stick.

When their dad got put on the fast track to a few brain surgeries, having an activity had become non negotiable. My second  needed something positive that belonged only to him just as his sister had a positive and creative outlet.

I did offer, as many a good parent would, to choose one for him if he could not come up with one himself. I chose classical ballet. I threatened him with size 13 wide points and a pink tutu. That way I would only have to drive to one place for children’s activities. Surprisingly, he was able to come up with an alternative. Within a few weeks of his chosen Saturday morning activity, he learned that he can paint!

He's an artist! Il est artiste!
He’s an artist! Il est artiste!

  In regularly circumstances, activities give the children an opportunity to learn something different from what they are exposed to at home with someone passionate about what they are doing. It gives them an opportunity to discover and develop talents that they might not have known they had had they not had the outside influence. It also gives them a place to grow their social circle.

For a child who lives in a home where there is an extreme medical illness, in having activities for them, you are offering an escape from the craziness. You are giving them the chance to be center stage of something they love. It is a place that they can let go of care and are there just for the pleasure of it. Depending on the activity, sometimes there are occasions when the children have their own cheering squad.

In supporting and even pushing the kids, to have positive, creative moments in their week, I unknowingly was helping them by giving them positive moments which would help them deal with the chaos. It played a role in helping them become the resilient young people they are .

Lets be real, when things are so intense, school does not necessarily offer an escape for some. It is more like a job for some kids and a prison for others.

Add to that how much time is spent at the hospital and how someone might feel there. For a lot, hospitals are not their go to place to relax and recharge their batteries. As a mom, I needed to keep that in mind since the hospital was almost a second home for us for periods of time. I needed to find some form of balance.

I believe having an activity (about once a week) gives the children a moment for themselves without overwhelming the schedule … especially if a lovely person would help the parents out.

So this is my call to all the lovely aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends out there. Offering of lifts and helping a child prepare a surprise for the parents is nurturing to the child and beneficial to all. Be someone’s “fairy godmother” to be sure the child could go to his activity.

I guess that is all we could do as parents, is feed those stomachs, those heads and those souls. All in all, a tall order.

Please join us next time for For Me.

I would love to hear from you if you wish to leave a comment or start a conversation.

Feel free to share this entry or the blog in hopes it lands on someone’s desk who may be feeling alone on their own crazy ride through a medical situation.

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