When you become a parent for the first time, you embark on the strange journey of being both the teacher and the student. Everything this new baby knows about their world, they have learned from you. Before they are born, they listen to your music and adapt to the rhythm of your day. After they are born, their coos and cries and laughter are the music of your days and their life rhythm becomes yours.
As you teach your child, they are teaching you.
I’m crying, but I’m not broken.
If you bribe me with candy in the grocery store, you’ll be buying it every trip.
You think you’re not good enough for me, Mommy, but I love you just the way you are.
Scott is my oldest; my learning experience. Heaven knows I made tons of mistakes during my “on-the-job” training! He has worried me, encouraged me, laughed with me, and pushed every single button I have. And I love him just the way he is.
Scott has always been his own person--not afraid to be the geek in the crowd of jocks and comedians. He is a Sci-Fi nut, a bookworm, and a knowledge hoarder. He has usually stood out among his peers, and has never been afraid to be different.
Like me, my boy has loved books from infancy. He was always memorizing, learning, and using books to travel to new places in his mind. I remember a young Scott telling me that when he reads a book, he forgets where he is. He finds himself inhabiting a different world and enjoying new experiences and entertaining new ideas. I think that’s why the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres of literature and TV appeal to him so much; it’s more than just a trip to a different environment--it’s travel to a whole new world.
Years ago, when he was in elementary school, Scott told Joann that one day he would be a “World Traveller” and he would take her anywhere she wanted to go. He has my wanderlust and restless need to get out of the house and go somewhere...anywhere! His travelling began in his books--the travels of the mind--but now he has made this dream real with his move to Russia.
When Scott first started studying the Russian language, I wondered what in the world he would ever use that skill for. My practical side was seriously distressed! And then he took a semester off of college to travel to St. Petersburg, Russia. He just set his responsibilities at work and school to the side and chased his dream! He spent two months there--something that was way outside of my comfort zone, and maybe even outside of his. At first I really worried about him! But as the days passed, and he shared his adventures via Facebook, I could see how chasing his dream was changing him. It was helping him find his place in this world and expanding his comfort zone. And by the time he returned home, he’d helped me redefine mine, too. I began to question if my comfort zone was really a good place for me to be.
Scott taught me how getting away can be a good thing. I’d always enjoyed escaping from the routine of life through books or music or travel, but often felt guilty about avoiding responsibilities while I did something I worried might be considered frivolous. He showed me the importance of getting away from the routine to learn new things and have new experiences; explore new worlds, both internally and externally. I saw that I needed to get away from myself--from over-involvement in my own thoughts, plans, ideas, and opinions. I needed to find my own voice and write my own language!
Currently, Scott is chasing a new dream; a dream to pursue his PhD in Linguistics. He is thirsty to learn about other languages and other cultures. He dreams of teaching at a university and creating brand new languages for books or films. He has dreams for his life that I never could have dreamed for him, and it is exciting to watch him chase those dreams.
I never imagined that those precious moments of reading with him in childhood would transform into this love of words. WORDS: found in books and conversation and other languages and even music. I watch him and realize he is teaching me to write my own language, draw my own maps, and sing my own songs. He is teaching me to keep exploring life and the new opportunities that come with each day and week and year.
Don’t “settle” for comfortable when amazing is right around the corner.
And never get so focused on being good enough that you forget how to step outside of your comfort zone and learn more about the world and yourself.
Chase your dream!