A favorite quote from Bette Davis: “If you’ve never been hated by your child, you’ve never been a parent.”
We had a couple of incidents this week that had the kids mad at me. Nothing big. Nothing that wasn’t really forgotten the next day (attempts at smuggling candy, what constitutes actually washing your hands, how to properly fold a fitted sheet).
Here’s what I’ve come to believe after 10 years of parenting. If your kids are never mad at you, if they never whine about how unfair you are being, it’s probably means you’re not doing your job as a parent. You are only protecting them from the consequences of their actions. How is that going to work out in the long run when life gives them a firm kick in the pants? We can only engage with the world as it is, not as we wish it would be. Raising sheltered or unprepared kids is not the way to raise successful adults.
I had a business trip this week and someone left a Sports Illustrated in the seat pocket from the previous flight which included this amazing story of Keanon Lowe whose post-playing career appeared to be going nowhere. Turns out he was right where he was supposed to be.
It’s certainly not a direct comparison to Lowe, but I do often find myself lost and befuddled in the thicket of parenting. I thought it might get easier when they could talk or wipe their own butts or take a shower. Nope. Things only get harder, often in more subtle and insidious ways.
I feel stressed, overwhelmed, cranky and lost and that’s just trying to figure out the weekly meal schedule never mind navigating the social norms of fifth grade girls. My kids make me mad and make me melt thirty-six times a days but ultimately that is just being a parent. You gotta embrace both them and the moment no matter how challenging.
The two days of travel and the break from active parenting did offer some perspective. None of us really have any idea what life has in store for us even as it breaks our hearts or keeps kicking us when we are down. We gotta remember that we are not lost, we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Not by chance or providence but because by our actions and our choices we make it where we are supposed to be. Parent on, people!
Warning: this is a proud Dad post. More than the usual, at least. As the girls grow, one of the most interesting things about parenting is to see how their personalities develop. You get to sit back and watch shocked and horrified as they do things you yourself would never imagine doing. I’ll occasionally catch a look or hear a phrase from one of them, usually Cecilia, that I see in the mirror, but just as often I’m left pondering what chance strand of DNA created that trait.
Like yesterday, when Allison auditioned for a part in The Waitress musical. For perhaps the first time since she put her leg completely behind her head as a newborn, I thought, there is no way you could ever convince me to do that.
Both girl’s (and their mother’s) love of musicals has been well-documented here and shows no signs of abating. Thanks to Michelle’s social media awareness (stalking) of various Broadway, stars and production companies, she learned that The Waitress would be auditioning a child part for the Boston show. Ally didn’t need much convincing.
TL;DR – She did awesome and had a great time. If you want to know a little more of the details, keep reading.