Child Personalities Revealed
After visiting friends at their farm in Illinois a few months ago, we passed an enormous sand pile directly off the side of the rural road upon which I was driving the family. An idea blossomed in my head and I excitedly squealed, “Who wants to play king of the mountain?!” Seven year old daughter cum daredevil Blair shouted, “I do!” With no further voting, I veered the SUV around and spun to a stop a few feet from the fifty foot tall sand mountain. Kevin remarked to no one in particular,“That sign reads ‘No trespassing-private property’.” Four of the five of us piled out of the car and sprinted up the intimidating sand dune. Blair and I first, Kevin stopping half way up to act as sentry and Devlin following the girls to see what the excitement was about. When I looked back at the SUV with all its doors open as if it would suddenly take flight, I noticed Rowan was still in her seat.
“We’re going to get arrested!” ten year old Rowan protested.
“Don’t worry, sweetheart! If anyone is going to the pokey for this caper, it’s me, not you. Come on! The water is fine!” I yelled from half way up the mountain.
“No!” Rowan screamed back to me. “I’m not doing it!”When Devlin, Blair and I reached the summit we slid down the mountain taking on sand in our pockets, shoes, socks, pants, underwear, ears. When we got to the bottom of the mountain, we boarded the car like Pig-Pen from the Peanuts comic strip, giggling, leaving a trail of sand in our wake.
I realized that in that moment we had each revealed our individual personalities. Rowan is the rule-follower. Blair is the adventurer. Devlin is the follower. Kevin, the one to help you bury the body. Where does that leave me? I suppose I’m The Instigator. The Rebel. Having a mother who is an Instigator must be hard for Rowan. The fact that she’s a pre-teen doesn’t help the embarrassment factor for her. Rowan habitually hides my refrigerator magnet that exclaims: “Sorry I missed church. I was busy practicing witch craft and becoming a lesbian.” I’m unapologetic that I hide this magnet when Parentals visit but not when my kids are in the kitchen. I recall a friend admitting to me once that he didn’t censor music around his kids. I remember thinking how evolved that sounded and that I wanted to adopt his non-censorship philosophy immediately. I’m not advocating kids be subjected to “R” rated material when they are in kindergarten, but they have to live in our world with our humor.Not surprisingly, I sprang forth from a proper mother. She would never have climbed a sand mountain with my sister and me. My dad, maybe early on. And frig magnets? I don’t recall any magnets with lesbians in my mother’s tidy house growing up. When my mother had breast cancer twenty years ago, I decided her mascot would be a bunny, symbolic of rebirth. My sister and I bought her a few stuffed animal bunnies during her recovery. She kept them out for a long time after she recovered. I received a package in the mail today from my mother. She is not prone to sentimentality. I knew what it was before I parted the tissue. A big stuffed bunny. I guess we all figure out a way to relate to each other despite our differences.