The wonderful world of parenting
Welcome to the wonderful world of parenting. Please check all your hopes, dreams and aspirations at the door. Come to this class with your mind a blank slate; bring no preconceived notion of who this child will be or how you will influence it on to a meaningful successful life. You will fail. Yes, these are your children, but no, you don’t get to keep them. They will grow change and move on. You will become a sentimental notion, then a pain in the ass as you move apart.
I was 20 when my beautiful screaming pissed off infant arrived into the world. The moment she exited my womb she began screaming in protest — she wailed in indignation at the injustice of being expelled from her mother’s warm womb. I should have known at that point that she was a contender.
I blinked, and she was barreling into puberty. Still angry as a hornet that had been swatted at, we now could add “rebellious” to the adjectives that described my child. I looked upon her with consideration, like a priceless piece of china — one wrong move and she would fall to the floor and shatter forever. I so desperately didn’t want to get this wrong. I so desperately did not want to fail her and yet it seemed every choice I made, in every step I took, I wasn’t getting it right. I failed her over and over. My child filled me with terror. It was like observing my own teenage years being equally pissed off — the difference being she wasn’t afraid of anything. I was afraid of everything.
I prayed to a variety of gods, goddesses, Saints. I threw pennies in wells. She became the object of every birthday wish… Please, please, oh great spirits of the earth, protect my girl. Let her grow up to be the amazing woman I know she can be. I spent hours sitting cross-legged on my great-grandmother’s grave. My stalwart, my matriarch, the one woman who kept me in relative working order as a teen was six feet beneath me when I needed her to be alive, well and helping me raise this child.
“Be the parent to her that you needed someone to be to you.”
Thank you, Grandma.
As my child failed the ninth grade, then failed it again, she came to a crossroads. There was an alternative program, but you could not have behavioral issues. My sassy princess, who stomped the campus in Chuck Taylor’s, cutting class and smoking weed, had become somewhat of a high school desperado. I did what any mother would do as she teetered on the edge of watching her child fall into a major life mistake.
I begged. I advocated.
My daughter was interviewed for the program and seemed to like what she heard. She said all the right things. She was in.
Thank you, various religious deities. I appreciate your participation in my project.
I am thrilled to inform you she grew up to be an amazing talented young woman. The anger and rebellion has turned into righteous indignation that she uses to help and advocate for those whose voice is not quite as loud as hers. She embraces life every day with new found zeal and celebrates all her moments to the fullest.
I checked my hopes, dreams and aspirations at the door. I let her become who she needed to be on her own terms and she has grown to become the most amazing daughter a mother could ask for.
Welcome to the wonderful world of being a parent. Things just may turn out better than you ever dreamed they could.