Letting Go of Your Fantasy Child

a dear friend of mine told me today that I must write this down, and so I am writing it here on lj. please to forgive my maudlin sentiments.

Every parent has, for every child that they conceive, a fantasy of who that child will be. We have hopes and dreams and fears and aspirations for our children. Some of us believe we can mold and shape our children from tabula rasa to the sort of people we think that they should become. Some of us believe that we can nurture our children's inborn traits and help them grow into their potential. But eventually for every parent, the day of reckoning will come. That idea we have of who our child is, of who he or she should be, is a fantasy. And until we learn to let go of that fantasy, we will never be able to see our children for who they really are.

There's a grieving process that comes with learning this, but on the other side of the grief, you learn that however grand and wonderful your fantasy child was, the real child before you is richer and more complex than anyone you could have ever dreamed up. They have depths that perhaps you will never know, secrets that will never be shared, and a wealth of personality that you can know– in time.

If you cling to the fantasy child, that incomplete golem of your imaginings, you will never really know your child at all.

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One thought on “Letting Go of Your Fantasy Child

  1. I put my mother through that grief early. She was so certain she had given birth to a *gasp* little girl!

    Silly her!

    But in all seriousness, this is a big deal. It is very important to really *see your children as they are, and not be caught up in that fantasy of who you think they ought to be. Scary stuff there.

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