Childhood, Being a Parent, and Great Expectations

I think that part of being a parent is wanting to give your children the absolute best that you can give.  I don’t mean “the best” as in “the most expensive.”  There’s a lot more to giving to our children (and being a parent, for that matter) than things that have a price tag attached.  Some of those things are about experiences.

There are things that I love about Prince George.  If you’re into the great outdoors, Prince George is a veritable wonderland.  There are absolutely gorgeous trails to hike.  There are city parks all over the place.  (In fact, I’m fortunate enough to have three within easy walking distance of my house, and one is right across the street.)  There’s a ski hill not to far from me, and there’s a community ice rink that is put out at a local school every winter.

There are times, though, that I feel like my children are missing out on the awesome experiences that I had because we live here.

My children do not see farm animals on a regular basis.  We live in the city.  (Okay, it’s not a bustling city like Vancouver or Toronto, but it’s a city, nonetheless.)  It’s not like there are farms to drive past every day.  When Norton sees a cow or chicken on Sesame Street, it’s a really awesome thing.  When I compare it to my own childhood, I really feel like my kids are missing out.  We had a cow of our own.  Neighbors had horses.  My cousins had a pet skunk.  Another neighbor had chickens.

This was brought on by a Wordless Wednesday post that I went to today.  The photos were of a lovely trip to an aquarium.  Our nearest aquarium is eight hours away.  There was an aquarium about an hour from my house in Florida.  Plus there was Sea World about an hour and a half away.  I see these things and feel sad because I’m not giving my kids some of the same awesome opportunities that I had when I was growing up.

This was a common sight in my childhood… (Image provided by sxc.hu)

That got me thinking about other awesome things.  My children will probably not get to ride an elephant.  It’s doubtful that they’ll ever see an alligator up close.  (For what it’s worth, though, part of being a parent also means that I’m very, very glad they didn’t get to see an alligator as up close as I did.  We used to have to call Florida Freshwater Game Control at least once a year because someone ended up with a gator in the yard.)  I’m not sure if they’ll ever get to ride a horse.

I get frustrated when I think of the things that I did as a kid that I can’t share with my children.  I know that my great expectations are different because the culture I grew up in was different.  I know that they will have different experiences and get to do things that I didn’t… like play sports and go to a Montessori school.  I know that Norton already gets to see things that I don’t, like bears and foxes, and even the occasional moose.  Those are things that I still marvel over… and those are things that will be taken for granted by him when he grows up.  Just like I took the yearly gator visits for granted when I was growing up.

Maybe part of being a parent is learning to adjust your great expectations.  Instead of having great expectations of recreating your own awesome childhood moments, maybe it means trying to create new and different awesome childhood moments for your child.

Are there great things from your childhood that you haven’t been able to replicate for your kids?  What have you replaced them with?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Wagner says:

    The parent child relationship is the most unique in the world. I would give my life for my children.

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