Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Solipsism

Yesterday Child said that the swirls and mounds of snow outside looked "just like that White Christmas song." But then she immediately countered with, "But you've never heard that song."

I assured her that yes, I had, but she shook her head. "You've never heard ME sing it. So you've never heard it."

Isn't it interesting how very wrapped up in self, how solipsistic, kids are? I'm sure that I thought like that too when I was little: nothing existed before me, and my parents certainly had no lives outside taking care of me. Why should they? They were MY PARENTS, that was all.

Interesting to be on the other side of the coin now. Sometimes I think that everyone keeps that view--with the self as the absolute center of all--until they do become parents. Then quite suddenly there is a shift. You hold a squalling, purple-red little being, scared to death that you'll drop her or squeeze her too hard, and you realize that you are not the most important person anymore. Not even close. And I wonder if that ever shifts back. When kids leave, when they are "safe" somewhere else, with their own families, does the attention shift to self again?

It'll be a long time before I find out, and I'm happy about that.

Medieval Word of the Day: bonairness: Gentleness, mildness, courtesy.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know first-hand, of course, but from talking with my own mum and other parents of grown children, I'd say it never really changes back. It becomes less immediate, I'm sure, because grown kids aren't there reinforcing it all the time, but I've often heard parents say "It doesn't matter how old your kids are..." and then go on to describe worrying about them or thinking of them first or whatever.

Kathy

dogfeathers said...

Much to my dismay, it doesn't seem to be shifting back. At all. And mine are 17 and 20, and big, strapping men, pretty much.

And still I am consumed by worry for them. Different issues, of course, less to do with physical safety and a lot to do with emotional well-being, finding one's niche in the world, that kind of thing.

I'm wondering if it will shift when they marry and form their own, new families. Not that I'm particularly eager to reach that milestone yet!

Cindy said...

Hi Suze!

Came across the word 'solipsism' the other day for the first time (not the notion, but the word) and it wasn't in my dictionary! I was astounded. Websters, granted, from junior high school, but still.

It's almost chilling, isn't it, the non-people we are to our kids. Normal, and likely important in some long-ago survival kind of way, but a little creepy. Little Boy is still mad at me because he wasn't invited to our wedding...(G)

I don't know if I'll ever be able to focus on myself the way I used to, but I do appreciate an hour here and there to give it the old college try...

Sara Walker Howe said...

Psst! I tagged you. *g*

So cute! So, she was better than the previous version you heard, right? *g*

Susan Adrian said...

Kathy and dogfeathers (um...that's Lorraine, right?):

{sigh} I don't know if it's good or bad that it doesn't seem to switch back. Good, I guess, in that we don't really need to be solipsistic. It's nice to care about someone more than ourselves. Hopefully somebody cares about us that way too...

Susan Adrian said...

Cindy:

It wasn't in the dictionary??? Weird.

LOL about Little Boy wanting to be at your wedding. Child is a little confused about that too.

Susan Adrian said...

Sara:

She hasn't actually sung it for me yet--it's part of the super-secret Christmas pageant/party. But from something she said I believe they're singing it in Spanish, anyway. Though I'm sure it will still be WAY better than any other version!