Sunday, July 09, 2006

Inside My Parental Mind

Following Spec's wedding weekend, while Raisinette and I were walking through the botanical gardens and waiting for the reception dinner to begin, she asked me how I would describe being a parent, what made it a different experience than say, being single or having no kids.

There are countless ways to answer this question and an equal number of individuals who would provide different answers than I. Because, obviously, (and despite what reams of how-to parenting guides say) there is no right answer here. The answers are a description of how human beings interact with each other, teach each other, and respond to each other. Therefore, every response and every situation is different. Therefore, my answers are relative.

But, here are some answers--and an especially illuminating thought on this topic that I realized during my recent trip to Georgia.

First, here are SOME random descriptions on what being a parent means to me:

I wasn't burning up the party scenes prior to 2000, but kids will slow down the social life. The girls would rather stay home attempting to get me to let them watch "High School Musical" or creating imaginary games with Byzantine rules than hanging out with my friends.

If you are a bad, lazy parent like me, your familiarity with such things as Disney Channel, Noggin, Dan Zanes, Raffi, Young Einsteins, the Koala Brothers, Jack Johnson, the Wiggles, and countless other bits of the childrens' media empire become as familiar to you as the cost of a gallon of milk, what work meeting you've got on Wednesday, and all the other "important" stuff that we keep in our brains.
If you are a GOOD, THOUGHTFUL parent, then your brilliant child will be driving a Lexus and doing logarithms in their head while my kid graduates from state college and spends his/her spare time blogging during work hours.

ANYWAY . . . on to the illuminating thought.

While we were in the Atlanta area, Lynda and the kids and I tagged along while MSquared, VM, and their two girls attended their end of season swim team celebration. The event was trophy presentations, ice cream, and culminated with a slide show of photos of all the swim team kids at practice, at play, and at meets. (There were, for point of reference, about 70 to 80 kids attending this event.) I didn't know any of them other than my two nieces, so when the slideshow began I decided to try and pick them out of the photographic crowd.

And here is where the realization began. I noticed that I was calculating the separate number of photos for each girl as the came up on the screen. And then I wondered if this was something that MSquared was doing. Because, if it were my girls at a swim meet event like this, one that featured photos, I can bet that they would somehow notice if one sibling was shown in more photos than the other.

So, I guess, that is another aspect of parenting. Would you call it living in fear? Nah! Maybe it's just being paranoid; maybe it's just being prepared for . . . whatever might happen. Maybe this only reflects badly on me or something. But, it's an honest reflection of some of the thoughts that occur to me from time to time.

Make what you want out of it.

1 comment:

Lynda said...

Being a parent…at dinner time…

Your 6-year-old daughter asks you if you'd rather be a witch or a wizard. You tell her that you really don't have a choice--wizards are boys and witches are girls. To this she responds, "I could be both, with witch parts and wizard parts." You stifle a laugh when you and your spouse look right at each other and grin. Then your 3-year-old daughter attempts to correct her sister by explaining, "You [Daddy] would be a boy one, since you're a boy, you [Mommy] would be a girl one, since you're a girl, I would be a girl one since I'm a girl, and you [sister] would be a girl one, since you're a girl." She stops and then smiles, quite pleased with both her insight and how long she's been able to hold everyone's attention. You stifle another laugh and instead remark, "Well, we certainly can't argue with that logic!"

It's absolutely loving crazy conversations like that with your kids--that's being a parent.