Posted in Blog, Emotional wellness, Family life, Featured, House and home, Life as a mom, Mother, Shawna, Wife, Woman, Working or staying home

Ace of one…

My whole life, I’ve felt like I was obtaining random skills and taking up random hobbies for just my own pleasure. I am one of these ever-curious people who likes to try new things, learn new languages, make new circles of friends. I like the liberal arts approach to life, reading Gray’s Anatomy one week, a graphic novel the next, and splicing my Paul Krugman/ Malcolm Gladwell with Jane Austin fan fic.

I always thought that my lifestyle put me at a disadvantage when looked at next to people who have been more dedicated in a single area. It certainly makes me less impressive professionally, and definitely muddles what I might put on my tombstone. I have good cocktail party chatter, but pit me against anyone who’s worked on any one thing for the same period of time, and I look shallow, two-dimensional: a secondary character at best.

With parenting, I’ve finally found the area where my chronic dabbling puts me at significant advantage, where my “Jack of all trades” lifestyle really does make me the ace of one. All of those worthless song lyrics I know from my choirgirl days? I can break out a fun, topical song for Quinn regardless of what we’re doing, and I never, ever run out of lullabies (even when she was three weeks old and I rocked her most the night, every night). All of those crappy plays I wrote as a kid? I love making up funny stories for Quinn about her toys, her clothes, her poopy diapers, whatever.

The handful of art classes I took? I’m good at making dinosaurs out of clay. And turtles. And crocodiles. The drama camp I did that one summer?  I can recite Shel Silverstein by heart.

When she’s older, it will be fun to talk to her about Mesopotamia, the Hobbit, the geography of Cyprus, Mariners baseball in the 1990s. To teach her that one song I know in Samoan, or how to do the first, second and third position of ballet (she’ll need someone who remembers the fourth and fifth if she wants to go any further), or recite to her the “To be or not to be” section of Hamlet (Stanford summer school that one year). Or sing her the Norwegian or Swedish national anthems (though I’m not 100 percent sure which is which), or tell her when a foul necessitates a corner kick in soccer (that referee training course I took in 11th grade, but then only reffed a handful of games).

Down the road, I think I’ll be a good tutor until she’s in at least tenth grade or so, when she might need someone who can dig a little deeper in any given subject. But by then, her love of learning and her interest in the world will be set. She won’t really need me any more, unless she wants to know how to make a decent sushi roll, or a mediocre curry. Or I could make her a Turkish coffee and read her future in the grounds for fun.

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  1. AWESOME article Shawna! I love the way you write. You should submit some of these to magazines. And I’m super impressed at all you know 🙂 I’m going to make you sing to me in Samoan next time we all get together at Rebecca’s!!!

  2. Wow – you are amazing!! What a lucky little baby.

  3. Thanks for helping me feel better about my “liberal arts approach to life”. It sure has come in handy for parenthood!

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