In all of my blogs, I refer to my kids, but I haven't said much about them. Allow me to take a minute to introduce my lovely children, Liam Sean and Courtney Teagan…
(photos courtesy of their Aunt Val)
Liam is my first-born.
Now 7 years old, he is a bundle of energy and intellect. One often hopes that our children will inherit the best qualities of both parents. Liam has inherited ALL qualities, positive, negative, and conflicting, from both Sonya and I. He is as smart and outspoken as his mother, as creatively and musically driven as both of us, and has his father's ego, extroversion, and yes, temper.
This can lead to problems at times. His highly developed sense of justice from his mother and rather self-absorbed nature from myself can lead to him seeming selfish at times. Along with my rather short temper (which I wasn't able to curb until I was about 14), this can lead to some difficult fights when he doesn't get his way. However, he is not inherently selfish. He is EAGER to share with and to help others, just more so when it doesn't conflict with his own interests. Until more recently, he wasn't good at looking at the bigger picture and to see the consequences of his actions. The more he grows and learns, he is developing healthy coping mechanisms and how to be a better citizen in general. I can almost see the gears turning and the connections being made in his head by the day as he deals with each circumstance, and it simply amazes me.
Liam is feisty and always wants to be the center of attention. As my mother has pointed out, he is the first child of loving parents and the first grandchild of four doting grandparents, thus he has gotten used to being the focus of adoration. Not necessarily the subject of materialistic spoiling, but certainly the focus of adoration.
Being the child of two musicians, he has developed a good musical ear as well. He loves to get up in front of people and sing. He eagerly anticipates the kid's talent show at the Slamka Harmony Hideaway Picnic every year. He even joined me on stage with my quartet a couple of weeks ago, told my friend and lead, Lou, to "step aside" (with all due respect and humor), and sang the tag to Darkness of the Delta with great gusto, ringing the last chord like nobody's business!
He is primed for activities where he can show off. As extracurricular activities like band, choir, sports and the like come into play at school, he is raring to join in and show his stuff. He seems destined to be a star musician, thespian, or athlete. His every endeavor is approached with such zeal and fervor, he quickly masters nearly everything he puts his mind to (once he gets past his initial frustration, anyway).
He can be a handful when he's over stimulated or tired, but his behavior is getting better by the day. That combined with his enthusiasm and talent for academics, the arts, and capacity for overall love and kindness fills me with great pride every day.
Courtney is Liam's polar opposite personality-wise, but every bit as smart and talented.
She is the more demure, quiet, and reserved type. When she warms up and gets more comfortable with her surroundings and people, she becomes more outgoing, but generally keeps more to herself. She doesn't seek out people to impress, but is often more content to entertain herself and accomplish things on her own. Rather than self-ostracizing, she seems to derive it more from self-confidence. She doesn't shun people or avoid contact, but doesn't require constant validation.
She's very thoughtful, helpful, and cooperative. I see her becoming the quiet genius. While Liam is very bright and excelling academically, he will likely have other, more dramatic activities he will want to excel in. I see Courtney becoming the honor roll, bookworm type, making her mark with more intellectual pursuits like literature. She has a brilliant imagination and can make up stories about and play with just about anything, turning pens and buttons into princesses and wizards. She will come up with detailed stories and dialogue, much more involved than I would expect from a 3 year old.
She loves to sing, but can be shy about performing. She is a girly-girl – a daddy's girl. She loves pink, ponies, Dora, princesses, dolls, and having her long blond hair in pigtails. She is adorable beyond expression. Her speech still lacks some of the glottal sounds like 'K' and 'G', but it just serves to enhance her adorability. She's working on them, though. I almost hope she doesn't perfect those yet, as it will be one more step toward my baby girl becoming a big girl. I dread the day when she becomes a teenager. Not just for me, but for her. No boy stands a chance of my approval and she'll hate me for it.
These kids fill me with love and pride every minute of every day. Even in their misdeeds, I find aspects to be proud of. I can't help it. I'll scold and/or punish them appropriately for inappropriate actions or behavior, but often in that behavior, I see some aspect of myself. Even if it's a part of me that I'm not very proud of, I still derive some sense of pride that I see myself in them and that we can work on bettering ourselves together, as a family.
The aforementioned predictions of my children's future are simply guesses – maybe hopes – but their future is up to them. I will do my part as a parent to guide them towards their strengths, help them recognize and improve on weaknesses, and above all, help them to be happy and successful at whatever they want to be. Sure, I'd love for Liam to be a great musician and Courtney to be a famous author, etc., but above all, I want them to have every opportunity to be everything they ever want to be. That is my sacred duty, and I couldn't be more proud to execute it for the benefit of these wonderful kids.