Monday, September 06, 2010

Parenthood - The Roller Coaster Ride...

Yesterday was Father's Day.  In this household, it was a very low key affair.  Dave is not well at the moment, he has an upper respiratory infection, these often lead to bronchitis with him, so right now it's just wait and see and take antibiotics which will probably lower his future immunity.  Anyway, where was I?  Father's Day.  I got up unusually early for me, because I was heading out to a fascinating talk at the Melbourne Writer's Festival (pretty much about whether or not we have a soul, though the word soul was never actually mentioned).  Erik reminded me it was Father's Day, and I emitted a few expletives as I realized I hadn't wrapped Luey's present to his dad, or put money in the cards from Erik and Ari...  I made some toast and coffee and left them to go cold (you know, for Father's Day authenticity) while I made a hash of wrapping Luey's present in my semi-comatose state, and then rummaged through my e'er-empty bag for some money (manage to come up with $25, with which he'll no doubt buy a couple of DVDs I'll hate)...

We made our big entrance on the almost away, sniffling and snorting through his cold, Dave.  He opened his presents and oooh'd and aaaah'd over the handmade cards we'd made while he was out last Thursday evening.  He was in awe of Bryn's drawing emblazoned mug and promised to drink his soup from it.  He was thankful to Ari and Erik for this monetary gifts, and impressed by Luey's keen eye for value at the $2 Father's Day stall CD/Disk holder with zip.  He chowed down on his cold toast and cool coffee.  Then he got up and hung out with the boys for three hours while I went to the talk and did the grocery shopping.

Erik made dinner last night, which meant Dave could have a nap (Dave usually cooks dinner - I could, but then nobody would eat).

After an abbreviated 1 hour game of post-dinner monopoly, the boys all went off to bed and Dave and I sat down to relax.  There was, of course, very little to watch on television, so we brought out an old favourite: "Parenthood".

I introduced this movie to Dave when Erik was just a wee tacker and Dave was somewhat overwhelmed with the responsibility of being a parent.  I ADORE this movie.  Even before I had children, I knew it bore some sort of wisdom I could draw from.  Dave is very much like Gill Buchman, the father in the movie.  He finds being a parent a very heavy burden of responsibility.  I'm a bit more like his wife - though not nearly as even tempered - and love the roller coaster ride of parenting.

Even so, some parts I just wasn't prepared for...  I wasn't prepared for strangers coming to me and wanting me to change my child's behaviors when I wasn't there with him.  This wasn't something I encountered until my children started school.  They hadn't been away from both Dave and I at the same time for any length of time before then.  Suddenly, they wee doing things other people found difficult to deal with.  They wouldn't sit on a mat when told, or they stepped on another child's sandwich on purpose, or dug up the dead class crab because they were curious.  The teachers wanted Dave and I to somehow FIX our children when we were actually WITH our children.  They wanted our children to be perfectly well adjusted when NO CHILD is always perfectly well adjusted.  They wanted us to, by remote control, make our child compliant, and easy-going and aware of other people's needs well before they are developmentally able to be so without a lot of one-on-one guidance, and these people didn't have the time or interest in providing that guidance, they expected us to do this psychically.

Over the past 11 years, I've learned two things...  MOST children are "problem children" at least half the time; they can no more keep all the people (their parents, their teachers, their friends) happy all the time, than week can  The other thing is, just when I think I'm getting a handle on rolling with the punches and letting the little things slide off like a water off a ducks back, I'll get a phone call from the school (it's always the school) which will leave me wondering how it is I can't stop screwing my kids up and how many people they'll actually kill and maim when they finally crack in adulthood and go on a shooting spree from a bell tower.

Let me leave you with my favourite quote from the movie, "Parenthood"...  (it's my fave because I can relate so well to it)...

"You know, when your kid is born, they're still so perfect; you haven't made any mistakes yet.  Then they turn out... like me."

If that's the worst that can happen to them, we'll all survive...

PS.  You might be wondering why I told you the who long tale of our Father's Day leading up to the movie.  Mostly, that was for my own benefit, to remind myself that we are good enough parents.  We engage our children, we love them, we teach them the best we can.  What more can we do really?

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Good Job!