We’ve celebrated the 4th in swim suits and shorts, but we’ve also celebrated with jeans and hoodies on because of the ‘unusually cool temperatures’. The same goes for Halloween. We’ve trick-or-treated in sleet and snow wearing coats that made costumes invisible and we’ve done it carrying discarded masks and wigs because they were ‘too hot’. Too hot—that was the case the year Elizabeth and Olivia were supposed to be a cowardly lion and Pete’s dragon…
I’d found the costumes earlier in the year at a yard sale. They were so cute and someone had put a lot of time and talent into sewing them. That’s right—no flimsy fabric or stitching on these babies. Elizabeth would be four and Olivia would be two that fall—just the right size to wear them. I was thrilled. I was even excited for fall to arrive so they could wear them. And if you knew me, you would know that is a big deal because I love summer.
Anyway…Halloween finally arrived and we were going to go to Zach’s school so the girls could march in the costume parade with their brother and some of their friends who also had older siblings in school. It was a beautiful day—mid 70s. Too beautiful, it turns out, to be a lion and a dragon. The girls were miserable and drenched with sweat within ten minutes of putting on the costumes. They were fussing and crying; complaining that they were too hot.
I was crushed! I knew they wouldn’t be able to wear them the following year and Emma wasn’t born yet so I wasn’t thinking of saving them for the next one. “Come on, girls,” I thought. “You can do it, can’t you?” It was clear that they could not and would not. So what did I do? I hurriedly took the costumes off, put them in dress-up clothes, painted rosy cheeks and freckles on their faces, put pom-poms in Elizabeth’s hand and crown on Olivia’s head and they went as a cheer-leader and a princess…a happy and comfortable cheer-leader and princess.
Parents, summer is upon us. School is out and there are all sorts of activities available for you to sign your kids up for. But don’t. Don’t stuff them into a ‘costume’ that is uncomfortable and makes them wish they were anywhere else but there. Don’t push them into being someone they aren’t. Just because you want them to play a certain sport or take music lessons (dress as a lion and a dragon) doesn’t mean that’s what they are cut out to do.
Instead, ask your kids what they want. And then let them give it a try (within reason, of course). They may find their chosen activity isn’t what they thought it would be—and that’s okay. Or they might discover their niche…their passion. That’s okay, too. What matters is that they are comfortable and happy doing what they do in their extra-curricular activity. It’s theirs—not yours.
Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.