One of the big pieces of parenting advice circulating these days is to be sure not to label your kids. And I can testify that this is good advice. To some degree I think it’s inevitable, but it can leave kids feeling pigeon-holed, or overwhelmed with trying to live up to their label. At some point I may write a bit about how being “the smart one” growing up caused me some troubles. Not today though.
I wasn’t just the smart one. I was also the WEIRD one. Granted, my whole family takes quite a bit of pride in being weird, so that’s not a huge deal, but I was the really weird one. Still am. And mostly that was such an accurate label that it wasn’t an issue. It’s really never occurred to me to be offended by it (probably because of the aforementioned fact that my whole family was weird and proud of it). But somewhere along the way, I accepted the label so much so that I felt like there was some pressure on me to be weird enough. Let me be clear- there wasn’t any such pressure coming from anyone. It was all me, nothing that anyone expected of me. And I’m not just talking about as a kid. This is an on-going issue for me. Especially when I read the Bloggess. I abso-freaking-lutely love her. Everyone should read her blog and her book, because she is amazing. However, she is weird on a level that I will never match. And sometimes reading her stuff, or other things in life, can make me feel like my weirdness is inadequate.
But then there are days like last Tuesday. Christopher got tickets to the Predators game. So we were walking downtown, from the parking garage to the arena, me in my beloved neon shoes-
when I noticed that across the street there was a little cluster of trees, and the trees were just FULL of birds. Hundreds of them! And they were super loud, all chattering at each other. So I did what anyone who knows me well would probably expect, and dragged Christopher across the street (at the crosswalk!). And I made him stand there with me listening to the birds talk, trying to get him to discuss with me what they might be talking to each other about. Every few seconds one would fly up a foot or two and come back down, so I was picturing something along the lines of the “she said I’m cute!” scene from Rudolph. And maybe some of the girl birds were whispering to each other about that cute boy bird from behind their wing. And it was at that moment, standing under trees FULL of birds, probably at great risk of getting pooped on, trying to get my exasperated husband who just wanted to go to the hockey game to discuss birdy flirtation with me, that I realized that when it comes to being weird “enough,” I probably don’t have anything to worry about.