Parenting Blog

Maybe This Is The Best I Am

The most heartbreaking scene in Greta Gerwig’s coming of age masterpiece Lady Bird isn’t when lead actress Siorsam Roinan dramatically exits her mother’s car thus breaking her arm, but rather when she meekly exits the changing room of a nondescript warehouse style Sacramento clothing store and says to her mom, with tearjerking self-awareness and a gut wrenching depth of humanity, “maybe this is the best I am”.

Every kid is a star. That’s what we tell ourselves when we bring children into this world overflowing with scammy healthcare enrollment robocalls ringing through the bluetooth of our minivans when all we want is to gaze out upon the double rainbow on the starboard side.

We all want our kid to shine like a champagne supernova in the night sky — it’s the fucking glue that binds our misshapen asses together into some kind of society, a society of decent people who’ve banded together to despise Oasis and want nothing but the best for the future. But, over the past couple of decades a well-meaning (that’s me being generous to moneygrabbers) retail trend of empowerment chic has figuratively gone and hung up tacky inspirational quotation office artwork in every room of family homes across America. From the Cartwheeled racks of Target to picture books lining the dark wood shelves at Barnes & Noble, our little grubby-handed lightbeams are being battered with rhetoric that’s nothing more than a manufactured reality in which they, our wide-eyed wee things, not only can be anything they want to become in life but that they god damn better achieve their pie in the night sky dreams in order to be happy. Follow your passions kids! Do what you love! You can be anything!

But a funny thing happened on the way to the mansion in the hills, the gold plated teeth and the tiny pet giraffe: the opposite is proving a real wallop to the down-belows. The ability to construct a definition of success that suits their own particular needs and wants was never allowed to form in our children and as a result of that shitty parlor trick, kids have been growing up and becoming not exactly what they always dreamed of being, but instead, growing up and becoming depressed, anxious, self-loathing adults who hate their shitty job, never traveled to the places they always wanted to see, said ‘sure thing!’ to all the easy Capital One credit they were offered in college, went to college because that’s what we’re supposed to do, and want off the damn ride, only, the high school flunky at the wheel is on another smoke break and there’s no stopping the vomit inducing spin.

And our kids are worst off for it. Not every star in the sky can be seen, and that’s okay.

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