Friday, February 20, 2015

If You Don't Do It, They Will Do It Themselves

Life is a shitshow.
One perpetual sprinting, marathon.
Glorification of busy is the new black.
There are Post-Its reminding us to take vitamins, plug meters, drink more water, buy more bananas, stamps, uniforms, yearbooks, propane.
Autopilot kicks in thank Jesus or we’d never get anything done.

Balance is a sexy word.
Maybe balance is the new black.
As a mother, I feel balance is a requirement.
It doesn’t matter if I’m good at it or bad.
Mothers are supposed to strive for balance.
It’s a buzzword in our industry.

You, me, him, us, work, play, passion, work, growth, obligation, health, spirit, them.
There is one of me and look at how many of them.
But there is also only one of you. My sweet girl.

I heard somewhere recently that age nine is considered “halftime,” as a parent.
Holy hell. Halftime. We’re at seven. We’re hurtling and barreling towards that locker room and I asked myself, have I taught her everything she needs to know? Like how she should get 90% of her music from the library? If she falls in love with a shirt at full price, to return in 10 days for it to be clearanced? Does she know the secret ingredient in my marinara sauce? Has she memorized all her friends’ birthdays? That she should always listen to hear instead of respond? Does she know all of that yet? Have I taught her how to be incredibly kind to servers and tip them overly well?
Does she know that when it comes to jewelry, more is more? Does she know her food should come from the grocery store’s perimeter only?

Balance. Busy. Please tell me I haven’t been too busy that I’ve neglected to show her how to be a person. This parenting gig - relentless. Just when I think I’m doing an excellent job, she reminds me I’m not. Casually one night over French toast and French fries at our favorite diner, she told me I’d been letting her down for quite sometime now. I had fallen prey to whatever other humans falls prey to, and that’s life. I had been promising her things and not delivering.

If you say things we can do, you need to make sure we do them. Like that one time you said we could have breakfast and we never went.

Well sometimes we say things just … you know, to talk about ideas. It doesn’t mean we’re going to do it all, I told her.

But I think it in my head and if we don’t do it, it makes me sad. Like breakfast.

Okay. Okay, I need to be intentional. Follow through. Got it.

The point is, when I don’t think I’m teaching her enough, she’s learning on her own. That’s the beauty and brutality of motherhood. If you don’t do it, they will do it themselves. And they probably will turn out pretty damn OK.

We had parent teacher conferences this week. And I tried really hard to not bawl my eyes out as I sat in that tiny chair in her classroom, listening to her teacher, the other woman in her life who actually sees my own daughter more than I do, talk about her.

“I do want to mention the Lil’ Dude and her big heart. She’s often the only student in our class who doesn’t hesitate when it comes to the kids who are different from her. She never sees the differences. She never is shy or scared. She’s such a good friend and you should be proud of her.”

Afterwards, I talked to her about it.

I always help them. Just because they need more help or more time doing things, doesn’t mean they’re not my friends. I just act the same as I always do.

She’s turned out pretty damn OK.