Posts Tagged With: Parent

The Perks of Parental Survival

Every parent understands the yin/yang, good/evil, adorable/despicable, sweet/smelly, insane/delightful opposites of raising children. Enough books, essays, blog posts, magazine articles and late night journal entries exist to fill the Library of Congress twice over on the topic.

This is not that topic. Not exactly.

A beacon...

A beacon of light…

Today I share a beacon of light for those of you somewhere between conception and empty nest.

One of my children, who shall remain nameless said the following, and I paraphrase due to my utter and complete lack of brain cells used up by said child and siblings.

“I’ve realized that all that stuff that just magically appeared at Christmas time and other holidays was done by you, Mother. It dawned on me that now if I want that stuff to happen, I have to do it myself.”

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of vindication Angelic Choirs breaking forth in song and shouts of hallelujah and Amen.

*angelic choir music*

*cue angelic choir music* (Photo credit: Crispy Lettuce)

I’ve walked on clouds since that phone call this morning. My feet have not touched terra firma, my heart has wings, light glows like a halo on everyone I see, well, almost everyone.

What’s this emotion I feel?

Satisfaction? Success? Relief? Surprise? Sorrow? Exaltation? Insanity?

Yes.

What a sensation to feel as if I’m… not exactly finished, but…on the other side of a long dark scary twisty rollicking hilariously terrifying ride called parenthood.

Oh sure, I still worry about each of my kids multiplied by two or three or four, but not in an in-my-face-constantly-what-was-that-siren-and-where-is-my-kid kind of way.

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA…kinda magical and scary at the same time, huh? (Thanks Wikipedia)

I’m so glad I didn’t give up a few years ago when it was oh so tempting! You laugh, but I was seriously considering moving in with my sister and leaving MSH to deal with it all by himself. But something in me, that DNA connection or something more powerful than the need for sanity, wouldn’t let me go through with my threat. I stayed. I stuck it out. I survived.

Even to this day there are times in my parenthood history that I can’t mentally revisit without tears, or maniacal laughter, or brushing up against near insanity, or absolute and total shock at my stupidity. That my children survived me at all is itself a miracle. That we all still speak to one another and love each other clearly stands as another marvel.

I’m not bragging. Oh, by no means, no. I’m just saying, if I got to this point, then almost anyone can get here. Really!

I haven’t figured out how yet, but here I am, on the other side of the tunnel.

Ever so tired.

But glowing.

I think I need a really long nap.

Categories: Family, Humor, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What Not to Say: Six Useless Phrases

Dog Hat / Space Coast Florida

(Photo credit: Rusty Clark)

Stress does something to the words that sometimes escape through our lips.  One of the most stressful experiences I’ve ever encountered is parenting, from both sides of the aisle. You gotta admit, parents say some ridiculous things at times.  In the interest of full disclosure, I’m pretty sure I’ve said most of these things at least once if not more.

“Don’t make me pull this car over!”

To a kid fully embroiled in “he touched me” argument strapped into the back seat of the car, this statement is just so much flotsam whizzing past the window.  What the parent really means to say is, “If I hear the two of you whine or argue one more word I’m going to lose my mind.”  A threat to stop the car feels more powerful, but is really a losing proposition.  You can’t really leave the kids on the side of the road, as tempting as it sound.  And pulling over is only helpful if you can stomp into the woods alone, let loose a few guttural primal screams, kick some really big trees and hurl some large boulders down the side of a cliff.  Then you’d be able to return to the car and continue to your destination safely and with less insanity boiling over.

“This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.”

Actually this one has some truth to it if the punishment is grounding.  Taking away a child’s ability to leave the house, or do regular activities, leaves the parent still dealing with the kid days or weeks or months after the infraction.  For some parents, enforcing rules is a painful process as it ruins their popularity standing with their kids.  Who wants the moniker of the no-fun parent?  You do, if you want to emerge from the parenting experience with your sanity intact. Repeat after me: Parenting is not a popularity contest.

“I’ll give you something to cry about!”

Crying is not an inappropriate behavior.  It’s a weird form of communication that very few people have been able to translate correctly.  Sure crying is annoying sometimes, and can interrupt your day, and might even go on for hours. Getting angry about it, threatening more reasons for tears is really counter productive.  You might want to reconsider before letting this one slip through your lips.  I know, I know, it’s an instinctive reaction based on years and years of hearing your own parents say those exact same words. Fight the urge, be creative, invent a new phrase your children can mock you with in thirty years.

“If your friends jumped off a cliff would you jump too?”

Most kids would answer with a resounding “Oh, yeah, baby!” Whatever their friends are doing is always more fun than anything else you could dangle in front of them.  Even if it’s taking out the garbage at their friend’s house.  The point is to be with the friend, always, forever, no matter what.

“What were you thinking?”

They weren’t thinking.  They were rolling on pure emotion, acting on impulse, going with the flow, riding the wave of adrenaline, sucked into the vortex of peer pressure, rocketing through the wormhole of hormones.  (See cliff jumping above.) Logic doesn’t really enter into the equation.  Actually, there really isn’t an equation other than the following: “I want it = I get it.”

“What am I going to do with you?”

“Take me out for ice cream, drive me and my friends to the mall, do my chores for me.”  I’m certain most children have plenty of ready answers to that question.  I have heard of the exceptional child with the ability to think up appropriate consequences for an inappropriate behavior, but that is a rare and gifted child with blessed parents.  The whole balancing act of crime and punishment is resting squarely on the shoulders of the grownup.  Sorry to be the one to break that to you.

Brave Souls, Intrepid Warriors

It’s a brave soul who takes on parenting. No owner’s manual, no instruction booklet, lots of well-meaning and misguided advice dispensed freely. Here’s my “two cents worth.”

Hang in there.  Laugh as much as possible.  Hug that kid every chance you get. And never, never, ever give up.

Categories: Humor, parenting | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

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