I’m sitting on a couch in my basement watching my boys play. One almost-five-year-old son scrambles across the pool table, flinging balls into pockets with his bare hands and making crashing noises. His twin brother croons “Havana na-na-na” into a karaoke mic while pounding a keyboard and perfecting his KidzBop choreography.
Disney’s Ferdinand is playing on the big screen in the background.
I remember the picture book from my childhood, but this is the first time I’ve seen the movie. Ferdinand — a calf seemingly destined for bullfighting. His dad is a fighter. His peers, his friends, even his enemies — all fighters.
But Ferdinand? He doesn’t have a smidgeon of fight in him. Nope, he loves flowers and dancing and all things NOT bullfighting.
I can’t help but think of our twin boys. They were born into football. Their dad played and now coaches football. Their mom loves football. They are the genetic product of a football family. Football pretty much drives our lives.
One son wants to grow up and be a football player. He loves rough and tumble and tackle and touchdown.
And one son wants to grow up and be a one-man boy band. He loves singing and dancing and all things NOT football.
They are exact opposites, my twin boys, despite being sprinkled with the same genetic spices and baked up in the same uterus at the exact same time.
And this ain’t my first rodeo… or bullfight or stage production, or whatever metaphor we’re working with here. I have adult daughters. And they are, likewise, complete opposites.
One grew up to be a surgeon, and one grew up to be a mama. The surgeon, she wanted to be an astronaut at five years old. And the mama, well she wanted to be a mama.
So Lord knows childhood dreams can change at the drop of a hat — or helmet or mic or whatever. Or dreams can remain the same.
Me? I wanted to be a mystery writer as a kid. I wanted to be the next Agatha Christie. I wanted people to die with the scent of almonds on their breath and secrets clutched within their cold fists and storied bloodlines.
Instead, I grew up to be an English teacher and a blogger, the scent of peanut butter on my breath, and while nobody’s died yet, I do clutch a red pen in my cold fist and bleed all over student story lines.
So yes, things could change. Or they could remain the same.
But whichever direction my boys and their dreams go, I will be there to support them. I will be there to believe in them. And to tell them they can be and do whatever they believe they can be and do. Just like I did with my girls.
And I will hang out in their corners encouraging, supporting, and cheering them on. Just like I did — and still do — my girls.
I like to believe I’m a lot like Lupe, the calming goat in Ferdinand:the awkward, rough-around-the-edges, bearded, female life coach of the title character.
I’m definitely in my kids’ corners like Lupe was in Ferdinand’s corner. They’re my kids after all… and technically speaking, kids are baby goats. (Heck, one of my kids even has a beard. At. Five. Years. Old.)
And since Lupe’s my spirit animal… right down to my lack of orthodontia and fondness for bed-bug rhymes at tuck-in (although I don’t have a beard, thank God), I guess that makes me a goat.
But since I’m the age where most mothers have already retired to an empty nest, I guess that makes me not just ANY goat, but THE GOAT.
I am the Tom Brady of motherhood.
I even have my own little personal deflate-gate — lumpy rucksacks that breastfed four babies for a grand total of four years and now appear the worse for wear…