There are a lot of things I want to be for my child.
Above all, I want to be a loving, safe place for him where he always feels welcome and knows he can be himself.
I want to be someone who challenges him to push himself, to not give into his fears, and to always strive for his best.
I want to be the person hugging him, or sitting quietly by his side, when his best falls short.
I want to be a scientist, always observing him so that I can know him better and know what he needs.
I want to be an architect, shaping his environment so that it offers him a place to thrive and grow.
I want to be a librarian, reading to him for hours on end and planting the seed for a love of books.
I want to be his travel agent, planning adventures near and far to open his eyes to the world.
I want to be an explorer, discovering whatever worlds his yet to be determined interests lead me to, so we have common ground.
I want to be his chef, cooking him healthy meals and baking cookies with him on a Sunday afternoon.
There is one thing though that I do not want to be: I do not want to be an entertainer, making sure he’s always occupied, never bored, constantly engaged in something fun or “educational”.
I believe that boredom is needed for creativity, that quiet times of nothingness are where imagination sparks and ideas are born. I believe that the ability to entertain yourself is a life skill, one that is falling away now that we have constant entertainment in our pockets.
So while I of course play with him, after all I’m his only available playmate most of the time, I don’t interact with him 100% of the time he’s awake. I look for those moments when he’s inside his own head and I sit quietly while he entertains himself.
I watch as the time he can do this stretches and I hope it serves him well as he grows. I watch as he discovers shadows on the floor and tries to capture them. I watch as he stares at his reflection in the mirror and watches himself move. I watch as he stares out the window at the beautiful world, captivated by the leaves dancing in the wind.
I watch as he starts to get frustrated or want attention, and then I watch a little bit longer, until it’s a little uncomfortable, walking that line so that he knows – he doesn’t need me to entertain him.