Wait! When did they grow up?
In talking with a friend yesterday the subject of kids - specifically teenagers - came up. As you know I have no children, but most of my friends do and I was in the hospital either during or shortly after many of them were born. And frankly, I consider them sort of *my kids*. OK, not technically my children, but at the very least my nieces and nephews. In other words I love them and have watched them grow and become pretty amazing people.
This year, the oldest batch turns 19.
What the hell? 19 is old. Well, for a kid. Not to mention how old it makes me (sigh).
Anyway, we were talking about how, despite some very, very minor mistakes they really are all good kids. Very good kids. When I read about the myriad of problems with "today's kids" I'm shocked and thankful that all that stuff is not a reality in *my* kids' lives.
Now, all of these kids went to private schools - as I did. I realize that private school, specifically in our upper-middle class "Miami Cuban" society, is almost a parallel universe to the *real world*. As I was talking to my friend I acknowledged that I had grown up in a pretty, pastel-hued bubble of a world, surrounded by friends and family, in small schools where everybody knew my name and feeling absolutely secure in the knowledge that I was never alone, that someone was always there for me, that I was always loved.
Then somewhere in my mid twenties reality hit. And it hit hard. It almost knocked me out. OK, wait. Despite the drama queen that I am, I'm not deluding myself into thinking I ever came anywhere close to "hitting rock bottom" - but it was rock bottom enough for *me*.
The thing is, I realize that when reality had the audacity to intrude in my rainbows and unicorns bubble it knocked me for a loop precisely because I lived in that bubble. So the question came up - is it better to raise a child in "a pretty bubble" only to have the snot knocked out of them at some point when they're older, or should you not protect your kids that much, should you let them see some of the ugliness of reality?
In my opinion - bubble away! As long as kids lucky enough to have the opportunity to live in a secure, nurturing and loving environment *know* that they're very lucky and don't take it for granted and don't feel entitled - I think it's OK. I'm not saying to spoil children by giving too much and expecting too little - I'm just saying that reality will eventually happen to them.
I know that I'm glad that when *the real world* hit me that I was in my 20s and not 14, or 17 or even 19. Maybe that's why it didn't break me.
19? My God - how is that even possible? I remember when she was all tiny and pink...when he was all scrunchy and shrieking. When did she become a beautiful young woman, and he a handsome young man? I don't want them to know too much reality just yet. I want to protect them for a little bit longer - not too much longer I know - but still, for a couple of more years maybe?