One of my facebook friends posted an Onion article today with the headline, “Study Finds Every Style of Parenting Produces Disturbed, Miserable Adults.”
I love The Onion on many levels, but mostly because what makes me laugh about their articles are the painful truths they contain. It is these hard, cold truth that cause my discomfort when I can’t help but chuckle at some of their headlines. I laugh to keep from crying. Like when way back in the day, they ran a headline about an adolescent African boy suffering a mid-life crisis. You see what I mean? It hurts so much, you laugh so you’re not a crying, weeping mess on the floor.
This short “news item” reminded me of one of my favorite conversations ever. Mary Tyler Dad and I are lucky to have a tight circle of his high school friends, and now their partners and kids, that still regularly get together. We’re all over the country, but usually once a year, we get together and enjoy each other’s company for a weekend or week. An adolescent Brigadoon, if you will.
Back in 2004 Mary Tyler Dad and I hosted in Chicago. At that time, only one of the friends had kids, but they were itty bitties. The rest of us are all “late bloomers” in the kids department, so we were mid-30s and still on this side of the kids threshold. That weekend, we spent a couple of hours wondering and imagining out loud how each respective couple would screw up their as yet unborn kiddos.
Now that, my friends, is comedy. Hilarity definitely ensued that weekend. For the life of me, I can’t remember how Mary Tyler Dad and I were gonna screw up our little ones, but I’m certain it had something to do with liberalism and laziness. Or intellectual snobbery. Something along those lines, at least.
Whodda thunk it would be grief and cancer?
See? Ya gotta laugh to keep from crying.
2 Replies to “It’s 5PM. Have you screwed up your kid yet today?”
Grief and cancer are not things that you gave your children, nor did either screw them up. They happened, and you enriched (and continue to enrich) your children in spite of it. Donna is immortal, thanks to you – and clearly was not “screwed up.” Mary Tyler Son fighting being a rock star, however…I’m not so sure (just kidding)
If we wanna talk “screwed up,” I have to worry when my 3 year old woke up this morning, grabbed his toy computer and started “typing” away furiously at it, saying: “I’m going to spend the day like Mommy today”
I so agree, you have to laugh, to keep from crying. To quote my sister-in-law, “I lose contention for Mother of the Year on January 1st each year.” We often chuckle that most of the parenting decisions we make, will be topic of the day on the psychiatrist’s couch when kids are adults. You make rules and restrictions to protect them, but does it make them rebel or unable to make own decision. Or do you allow them to make their own mistakes and find their way, only to find that they felt abandoned and undirected. Do you let them win at games and lavishly compliment every aspect of their selves, never harshly criticizing, so as not to wound their psyche, but end up with a conceited, over-confident braggard?
Have I screwed up my kids by my military service: long absences that cause worry in their little minds that Al Qaeda or the Taliban will make them orphans? Maybe. But I hope I have taught them the power of being a strong, focused woman, for standing up for what is right, for fulfilling obligations despite the personal sacrifice.
Crap, you do what you can do and make sure they know until your last breath, or as in your case, Donna’s last precious breath, that we love them and will fight with every fiber of our being to make their lives meaningful and worthwhile. What else can we do?