As a proud pant wearin’ Domestic Square Peg with some gray in the temples and a revolving door to the nighttime bathroom, I am presumed to have witnessed it all and learned from my experiences. More specifically, I am expected to be able to give advice on child rearin’ and counsel my younger friends what mistakes to avoid and how to prepare for them all. That’s absolutely impossible. My experiences have taught me a lot but by presuming to advise others it’s sorta claiming that the job is finished and no Karma calamity awaits my foolishly pretending to be an expert. This much I have learned… parents can never rest.
I’ve a son and two daughters. One of each gender has finished with college and gainfully employed (insert BIG smile here). Number three is on that path. All love their mother and say nice things to me when compelled and others are listening. None are married yet so I cannot give personal anecdotes regarding that chapter. But the Currier & Ives image that may be creeping into your vision is as fragile as a Denver Broncos lead in the fourth quarter. One phone call from a boyfriend or the stone-faced boss blurting ‘we’re going in another direction’ can change the happy, happy tranquility that I now enjoy to a world of furtive looks and long faces that seem to never end. We adults can abide most disappointments that come our way, but the drama that affects our children seems blacker and bigger and more permanent than anything we wrestled with ourselves. They’re kids for goodness sakes. How can they possibly right the leaky boat we pushed them off in? But they can if we let them. Repeat that sentence forty times and call me if you believe it yet.
So there’s the rub. We coddle them then we buddy with them and eventually they are grown and mature but we do not believe or trust our own hard work. We are certain that the world today is tougher and less fair than what we endured so the extra help and extra worry is the minimum we should be providing. I really don’t know if this feeling will ever change. My best plan right now is to enjoy the peace for as long as we have it, keep the rainy-day fund funded and let them know how proud I am when thunderbolts of maturity appear in their daily lives.
No rest for the weary
Please do not interpret this babble as any sort of regret. To date, the joys of parenting outweigh the pains by a factor of infinity. Younger parents reading this should take that as encouragement. But mark my words, there is no rest; at least not yet. Last week I visited my dear mother and was prepared to ask her when she stopped worrying about me. I bit my tongue.
What if her answer was ‘soon, I hope’?
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