I don’t like being told what to do. I know this is not a great trait to admit to but I am all about disclosure. I think it is the stubborn Irish streak that I inherited from my Grandpa Mac. If you ever meet my brother you will learn that he inherited even more of it than I did. This is something that seriously irritates me and makes me a little jealous all at the same time. You see, the degree of my brother’s stubbornness in some way makes him charming. He is the one at parties that is dancing on the tables while the rest of the party goers circle him to see what he is going to do next. He is willful and headstrong and people love him for it. I on the other hand got the more cerebral version of stubbornness. It is the less enviable version where I am compelled to fight for the underdog and stand up to old people in my neighborhood who yell at my kids for playing ‘too loud’. Is it even possible to play too loud?
My stubborn streak also carries over into following directions and recipes. They just seem too inflexible, too restrictive. I like to view a recipe more as a good jumping off point than a rigid formula. I justify this thinking by rationalizing that it frees me up to be creative. That somehow this need to be free from boundaries is actually a good thing. However the truth of it is that this way of thinking has definitely gotten me into trouble more than a few times. My kids beg to hear stories of when I was a kid and my stubborn streak got the best of me.
It is strange to have kids because as they get older you begin to see yourself in them. The things that you like about yourself you also like about them. The things that you would have rather not passed on, make you blush like a ruddy-cheeked, kilted Highlander. It becomes inevitable that you have to face your delicate traits because they interact with you in a little fleshy body everyday. In walks my stubbornness, dressed in a pink night gown with beautiful blond hair and stunning blue eyes. A little girl who is precocious and intuitive and stubborn just like her mom.
Someone once told me that children who have strong feelings are blessed with strong Inner Guidance. I guess in some ways this comforts me. But on a day to day basis strong feelings tend to be exhausting to a mom is trying to take care everyone’s emotional well being.
I also get some consolation from the zoo, strange enough. Domesticated animals confined to zoos, and similar unnatural habitats lack a certain "spark" found in their wild counterparts. They've been bred or trained to live apart from their nature. They've adjusted to their lack of freedom. Put a wild animal in a cage for the first time and behold the fury! What else would you expect from a creature who still knows it's supposed to be free?
Children are born free and wild, and they don't readily submit to "domestication." And thank goodness for that, because those who retain that spark are the ones who will uplift humanity in generations to come.
So today, I celebrate the stubborn spark of wildness in the creatures in my home. Blessed are the stubborn rule breakers because they will inherit the freedom to play as loudly as they want and never get thwarted by neighbors who have forgotten how to play.