Monday, August 2, 2010

At Least I Can Still Control My Dogs....I Think.

Most milestones and "firsts" in your child's life are moments to be celebrated with them. Moments to call Grandma and Grandpa over; moments you seriously consider whether or not it's going overboard to take out a full page ad in the local paper, just to let everyone know how awesome your child is. The first step. The first word. The first lost tooth.  But there are some "firsts" that are more personal; more subdued.

Some things you just don't call Grandma and Grandpa about.

When your baby is still your baby, you're able to convince yourself that you will be The Coolest Parent Ever. You'll let them stay up late on a school night, eat candy and drink Mountain Dew after 8pm, let them date in the 7th grade, and you just know that you'll never insist on a mandatory 18 inches between them and their sweethearts.

Those ideas are great, really. And you truly believe you'll be able to do all of that. Right up until the first morning they miss the bus because you can't get them moving in the morning. Or the first night you're up until 4am wiping their faces and repeatedly flushing all of that recycled candy and Mountain Dew down the toilet.  The first time you realize that hormones are involved, and there is no way that 18 inches is ever going to be far enough apart.

But.... they survive the sleepless nights and the tummy aches. They even survive your incredible evilness that forced them to wait until they were older to date. And yes, they survive the hormones. What you didn't realize before you had these children? Was that their survival meant that they would occasionally be sneaky and break promises.

You also didn't realize how much that would hurt, and how you would struggle not to get angry with them. After all, how can you get angry with them for doing the same things you did when you were their age? So you don't yell or discipline, and you dig deep down to react the way you wish your own parents had reacted when you were caught. And your child, your precious baby who is just no longer a baby, doesn't pull away from you. You have somehow managed to keep from alienating your child and avoided guaranteeing that they will never talk to you about anything important and life changing ever again; and maybe you've even grown a little closer.

You know, as ready as I had convinced myself I was for all of this.... I wasn't. This last year of the illusion of my being able to control his life? Is going to be so much harder than I thought it would be.


T said...

this is the time of my life when I am grateful for the prude I was in high school... yeah, it kept me sober and sane... but it's also come in handy in talks with my children!

(not judging, just saying... because the other perspective I think would be another useful one to have sometimes...)

Karen said...

You are the Best.Parent.Ever if you've taken what I think you did as calmly as you just stated. You're the kind of parent every kid wishes they had. And my A#1 role model.