For my mother

ImageThis is a difficult post to write simply because my mother defines motherhood in ways that most mothers could never hope to achieve. And, to put this near perfection into words is very nearly impossible, though I’m certain she would disagree with my assessment, which would only go to prove my point. Her humility, her grace, her humor, and her ability to aggravate with aplomb are just a few of her great qualities.

My mom was a miracle worker. She made a home for my father, my sister, and me. She was an example to us, to our friends, and to our community on any number of occasions and she continues that example today. Her ability to create a meal every day and have it on the table the moment my father arrived home from work while taking care of two kids still astonishes me as I struggle to microwave Indian food from Trader Joe’s for my own two monsters. She made Halloween costumes, she dressed us in wonderful clothes for church. She made Christmas treats for our teachers and saw to it that my sister and I had what we needed AND understood the difference between needed and wanted!

She struck fear in our hearts when necessary, but was never unkind. She did the same to our friends, and we respected that. She knows how to aggravate us to this day, even though we know that’s what she is doing. She’s an incredible “button-pusher” and takes as good as she gives. My mother also has never turned down an opportunity to help us generously with time, money, or just a listening ear.

She is quite simply an iconic ideal of motherhood. And, though she may not agree, or may simply be too humble to acknowledge it, my mom is the best. I love you mom and I hope that this post goes just a little of the distance necessary to show you how much.

See you in the funny papers!*

*That tag line is something my mom gave me. She said it all the time when we were growing up.

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Papercuts from the Edge

It’s been some time since I wrote. Life often gets in the way. Other times, I don’t feel inspired. I wouldn’t say I’m a writer, I’m more of a relayer. I relay things that happen to me and others around me on a random basis. I’d love for it to be more often, but you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. 

However, it’s a fit that brought me here today. 

When my daughter was born, I promised myself that this wouldn’t become a parenting blog. Little did I know that my existence would be consumed to the point that blogging would mostly become a thing of the past. She turns four tomorrow and she has a 6-month-old baby brother to help her out with the duties of engaging my wife and I with worries, joys, and tomfoolery on a minute-by-minute basis. Still and all, the goodness outweighs the badness, and there are no Bedouins nearby for me to sell them to.

Lately, she’s been testing our patience on pretty much a daily basis. Some of this we attribute to being a 3 (nearly 4) year old. Some of this can be attributed to sensory processing disorder. Unfortunately, you won’t find SPD in a manual anywhere because it’s not really a recognized thing, just yet. And, because it manifests itself as behavior problems, it seems as if you’re just bad at parenting. The true trick of all this is to define which behavior is SPD and which is just general limit-testing.

Last night, it was a struggle of wills between her and myself. I don’t need to go into all the details, but it resulted in her screaming and crying on the bathroom floor while I sat on the side of the tub, sweating and counting to 4,398,432 in my head. It lasted a good 20 minutes, at least. Another frustrating part of this is that mere hours before, we were engaged in quality outdoor time with each other that resulted in both of us getting much needed exercise and sunshine. My worry is that the behavior I was dealing with last night is a genetic remnant of my temper which I am all too familiar with. Aside: Parenting has enabled me to deal with my own demons on a regular basis! Much like my parents were unwilling to allow my temper to manifest and control the house, I refuse to allow my daughter to dictate our lives through tantrums. However, when I was growing up the “spare the rod, spoil the child” dictum was in force and we live in a different time now. I’m not saying I was beaten, but I was spanked on occasion (deservedly so) and, believe me when I say this, the threat of such was more than enough to quell most of my anger issues. 

In addition to all of this, my wife and I want desperately to be on the same page regarding how we parent. But, we spend so much time parenting that we have precious little time to discuss how it’s going. We’re not the first, or the last, parents to be too exhausted for anything other than a simple “good night” at the end of the day; much less a dialogue on how to address various behaviors.

The good news is that my daughter is in a wonderful school that handles these issues capably through a variety of means. We are the recipients of both the benefits of her being there and the informative attentiveness to our questions. And, I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job as a parent, although her future therapy bills may be the final tally on that score. I guess my point in all of this is to say that it’s hard out here for a dad (or a mom) and we’re parents who actually give a damn. I’m not sure what life will be like for kids whose parents don’t realize that parenting is a lifetime job. 

On a lighter note, life is still pretty good. The job is good. I’m reading great books these days. I enhanced my karma by helping a lady change her flat tire this morning. And, my wife and I even got to see a movie in a theater the other night…so y’know, it’s not all bad.

See you in the funny papers!