The other day, my husband and I toured an independent school in the area (which of course, we love and feel is so unbelievably perfect for our little guy that I will now be devastated if I have to send him anywhere but*) and while we were sitting down for our "interview" with the admissions director, she asked us where we saw our child in 20-30 years. When asking this, she acknowledged that this was a difficult question, and not one that we had probably given a lot of thought or discussion to.
She was right.
With little kids, you have to be so caught up in the day to day, that I have a hard time even thinking past next year, let alone, the next 2 or 3 decades. It is so hard for me to imagine my kiddies as the men that they will someday be. We all know how much can change in even a year, that, no we hadn't discussed it.
I, of course, gave, the stock answer, "I hope that he will be a success, whatever that word will mean to him. That he will have graduated from at college at a minimum, and that he will be surrounded by people in his life that love and inspire him."
My husband on the other hand said something that 1) reminded me why I married him, 2) reminded me why I had kids with him, and 3) couldn't have been more true. He said very simply, "I want him to be happy."
The admissions director looked at him and paused, apparently no one had ever said just that.
Happiness seems like such a simple thing, but with all the hopes and dreams, along with the pressure, we pin on ourselves (and especially our children) it sometimes seems like something that is elusive and unattainable. I would consider both my husband and I to be very happy people. He loves his job and will often remark that he can't imagine what it would be like to go to work and "punch a clock" essentially hating every minute his work day. While the kids nap on the weekends, or in the early morning hours before we wake, you will often find him at work, not because he needs to be there, but because he loves what he does. While our days couldn't be more different, I too love what I do. I get to spend all day with my boys, maintaining my home (which I am still in love with), cooking good food, seeing my best friends and their beautiful kiddies a few times a week, and now, spending time best friend/sister on an almost daily basis. Our evenings are generally the same.. baths and dinner for the kids, some one on one daddy time, bedtime, dinner for us, and catching up on one of our favorite shows. On Saturdays, we try to go to an early dinner as a family, or have some semblance of a "date night" and, as you all know, we try to travel as much as we can with little kids in tow.
It's a pretty quiet life, and it's one that I wouldn't have any other way.
As far as I'm concerned, life doesn't get any better than this. I also realize that the things that make us oh so happy, may not be the same things that will make my children feel the same. I can only hope that they find careers that they love, a partner who is first and foremost their best friend, good friends, a loving family, and a desire to make a positive difference in the world. However, if in the end, if all they can say that they are "happy" with their lives, than I know that we will have done our job, if only because we lead by example.
*For those of you who have emailed me re: the issue of delaying kindergarten by a year, the LM would enter a pre-k program that has combined hours with the kindergarten. His day would go from 8:30-3 and his studies would be comparable to a public, or traditional kindergarten program. The school itself is very small and will tailor the curriculum to his individual needs. If they see that he is at K level, we will have the option to put him in first grade. More likely he would do a second year in the K program as an "older kindergartner" to give him the chance to master the basics before entering the next year. He would stay at the school for grades 1-6 (with the option of continuing until grade 8.) The school itself is extremely socially progressive and diverse. It is not at all what I would have thought a private school would be like, and I know that if given the chance, he will thrive in such an environment. I also not so secretively love the idea that he will start college (assuming that's his path) at an older 18, rather than a 17 year old. Plus this means we get an extra year with him living at home! ;)