With my eldest recently turning four, I’ve had a lot of things running to and fro in my head. Some of these things were actual thoughts.
I thought about how some people say the time goes by so quickly. And it does in a way. But I’ll tell you what. These last four years feel like a definite four years to me. Some of the days I remember. Some of the days I’ve forgotten. Some of the days I’d like to remember if only I could, and some of them I’d like to forget. But I can’t say that it’s gone by in the blink of an eye. No. It feels like a full 1460 days. I gave and received an indeterminable amount of experiences, and exerted too much energy mentally and physically for those years to ever feel condensed.
This is both good and bad. Because sometimes it feels like these toddler years will never end, but it also feels like I’m in the moment and I’ve got time to figure this whole parenthood thing out before they outgrow the stage where a graham cracker can fix everything.
And on that same train of thought I tried to imagine Bosco and Bubba as sixteen year-olds and I just could not do it. I managed enough brain power to conjure up multiple hairy, pimply, testosterone-ridden teenagers, but none of those images were MY child. And that’s probably because I’m just so in the moment. Can’t even grasp anything more than a week in the future. It has nothing to do with the possibility that the mere thought of me parenting a teenager scares me deeply, like in my bones, and gets my innards in a twist, especially my already feeble bladder.
So now of course I’m thinking about parenting and if I and the Husband have the qualities, and stamina it takes to turn these boys into gentlemen of the highest caliber. Having been a child in the past (sometimes the present) with well-intentioned parents and currently in the throes of parenthood myself, I have personal relatable documentation to prove that, for the most part, parents really and truly only operate on luck mixed with good timing, and an occasional sprinkling of divine intervention. And even though parents know this reality deep in their gut, they try to tell themselves job well done on figuring out a sticky situation ALL BY THEMSELVES. Because it makes them feel at least somewhat in control. OK fine. Because it makes ME feel somewhat in control.
But I’m going to go out on a limb here (I've always wanted to say that) and state that parenting is perhaps the number one thing that makes a person realize they are absolutely NOT in control. Vending machines come in at a close second.
How else can you explain that in matters of rearing and disciplining children, what worked this one time will not work the next time, or the time after that, but will suddenly work again the time after that, but alas the time after that you will have forgotten you had a tactic at all so you will try something all willy nilly which will fail with flying colors, but in theory it should have worked because you read about it in a book.
Experience is a tricky thing in the realm of fathers and mothers since the word “experience” denotes a belief that there is a predictable nature in the work they are doing wherein they can gather useful information from the past and use it for their benefit.
Well all I can say is children sure have a way of barfing all over one’s experience, making it (the treasured nugget of experience) completely void of usefulness.
But here’s a fact: These things just cannot and should not be delved into too deeply or philosophically because of the headache inducing factor they possess, as well as feelings of misery and stupidity parents must endure as they ponder all the things they have tried in the name of being a good, competent parent.
Like this one lady who revealed unto me that she told her son he had a bug in his ear and that it needed to be retrieved post haste, when in actuality I, I mean SHE, just needed to clean up the boy's mess of ear wax that had begun to haunt her dreams. And what did she get as a result of her cunningness? A kid with dirty ears who now says he hears a fly buzzing everywhere he goes.
Well lady, all I can say is you lose some and you think you win some.