An average wolfpack has two to fifteen members. At last count, we have six Lego wolves, two plastic wolf figurines, and seven stuffed animal wolves.
I did the math yesterday. Six plus two is eight. Eight plus seven is fifteen.
My eldest has been forming her own wolfpack since kindergarten. It started with Ian Whybrow’s Little Wolf series; her love of the main character sparked the creation of a wolf alter ego and three composition books of letters to a literary best friend.
Four years later, wolves are a main feature of her life. They show up in her artwork, take center stage in her stories, and live out adventures in her imaginary play. She was a wolf for Halloween two years ago, and she wants to be a wolf again this fall. Anyone who knows her knows she loves wolves.
An outsider might see a disordered obsession. Her father and I see something beautiful. She has tipped her hand (or paw, as it were) through explanations of lupine behavior and social structures. A pack functions as an extended family unit working together to survive in the wild. Their preferred prey (moose, elk, and the like) cannot be taken down alone. Lone wolves, though they may be faster, stronger, and more experienced than their pack counterparts, are extremely aggressive: a wolf who lives alone fights a more difficult battle for survival. By necessity, a lone wolf is desperate; dangerous.
She was one, once. Until she found her pack.
I did not anticipate raising a wolf pup. In my mind, having a gifted daughter meant success in school. It meant time spent with friends at playdates and activities. But the reality was far different from my expectations. There were no glowing reports from teachers or staff. She was aloof and disinterested in gatherings with “friends.” My pup fought for survival in elopements, violent outbursts, and open, angry defiance. She was an outsider, a lone wolf, desperate to subdue a behemoth we had dropped in front of her path.
I had to let go of my own expectations. Once I did, my little wolf proved herself far superior to anything I could have imagined. I know enough now to trust her judgment, and she’s formed a small but kindred pack of like-minded friends. G and A have been close since preschool, partners in a rich imaginary life. G and K met in theater class, another friendship born in creativity. G and her sister, B, are as good friends as they are squabbling siblings, losing themselves in a dramatic tour de force of favorite book and movie characters. While G’s imaginary pack provides companionship on her own terms, this human pack stretches her, encourages her, and challenges her She’s proud of the person it has helped her become,
G will tell you that wolves don’t have regrets. I don’t think I’m at that point, at least not yet. But she is guiding me, teaching me to blaze my own path as her mother just as she has forged her own course.
I couldn’t have asked for a better gift.
This post is part of the Gifted Homeschooler’s Forum September Blog Hop: The Importance of Finding Intellectual Peers and Community