You just want your kid to be normal.
I hear you. I do. Because that is a perfectly healthy and reasonable thing to want for your child.
You observe that in your own life and in the world more generally, people who are normal have it easiest. They don’t have to fight as hard for what they deserve. You want a good and happy life for your child, so why wouldn’t you want them to be normal?
This is not snark or sarcasm. I hear you. I understand. I empathize.
Keep on wanting your kid to be normal if that is really want you wish for deep down. You are entitled to that wish. You are entitled to want a clear-cut and easy road for your child’s development and your experience as a parent.
Keep on wishing and wanting and feeling everything you feel.
But know that the moment you brought your child into the world, you entered into an agreement with your child, your family, your society, your species, and yourself.
When you became a parent you agreed to let what you want for your child come second to what is best for your child.
There is no shame in admitting that you want things that aren’t for the best. Everyone wants things that are not in our best interest or the best interests of those around us.
We want to eat ice cream for dinner every night.
We want to give our boss a piece of our mind.
We want to spend our paycheck on a new gizmo instead of groceries and rent.
We want to steal that puppy and snuggle it forever.
We want to sleep just five more minutes.
There is no shame in admitting that you want things for those around us that aren’t for the best, for the people we love.
We want our spouses to never look at another person as a sexual being as long as they live.
We want our parents to get back together.
We want our exes to come back to us so we can make them happy.
We want our friends to come out and party tonight.
We want our siblings to quit their jobs that aren’t right for them.
We want our children to grow up to be presidents and astronauts and ballerinas and virtuosos and NBA All-Stars. To graduate from high school and college and their PhD programs with a 4.0 GPA. To speak six languages fluently. To win every scholarship. To master every instrument. To be friends with all the good kids who won’t lead them to drugs and turn them into tiny felons. To never get sick. To never give up. To never fail at anything ever. To always be happy.
We want our children to be perfect.
Of course we do.
We push our children, our friends, our families, our lovers, ourselves, to be the best we can be.
And then we step back, because we know that we are all human. We are all exactly who we are individually. We all have the right to pursue our own happiness. We all want things, and we all want different things.
We can want whatever we want, but we show our love by respecting that what we want might not be best.
You want your child to be normal. You want them to have an easy life, where everything is fair and just, where they get every wonderful thing they deserve. Good. Keep wanting that.
But just as you gawk at the meddlesome mothers and helicopter parents who push their children to be perfect and then are shocked when those very children rebel, or fail even a little, or opt to be homemakers instead of presidents, or presidents instead of homemakers…
Gawk at the parents who force their want for normalcy onto their children and are shocked when those children are unhappy and frustrated and desperately seek their own path, learning not to trust their parents for the support the want, need, and truly deserve.
Your child does not exist for you to get what you want, even if your wants are founded in love and hope.
Your child exists as a human being, who deserves love and respect and individuality.
You exist as a human being as well, and deserve love and respect and individuality just as much. You get to want and wish and hope, and deserve no shame for any of it.
No human always gets what they want. No human ever has to stop wanting.
You wouldn’t expect your child to stop wanting to eat ice cream for dinner or to stay home from school or to stay up late watching scary movies. That doesn’t mean they are going to get it. That they want it doesn’t make it best.
You can’t be expected to stop wanting a perfect, normal, successful, happy, healthy life for your child. That doesn’t mean you are going to get it. That you want it doesn’t make it best.