I’ve tried to keep a journal. I find the vulnerability of it daunting. I can’t seem to capture the “me” feelings of the moment and my mind starts to wander.
Most of the time when I start with the word “I” it usually ends in some kind of story form…
Today I am writing, procrastinating on housework, and avoiding social media until absolutely necessary. Basically, a regular day. It’s incredibly quiet, even with two other people in the house. I stopped typing and listened. Nothing but the air conditioner and the dishwasher reminding me it would need to be unloaded soon.
I’ve said it before and I’ll write it again – I wouldn’t trade my two teenagers (young adults now) for even a half of a well-behaved baby with rosy cheeks one rosy cheek and a sparkling smile. Give me the quiet, brooding, I’ll-do-it-myself aged children any day.
For those people with young children, don’t believe the rumors – teenagers are wonderful. Oh sure, there are some parents who like being asked what’s for dinner every night, or finding parts of their backyard in the washing machine, or answering questions about why something is a certain color, but it wasn’t a golden parenting time for me.
My inability to keep my mouth shut was often a result.
Maybe it would have been easier if I had today’s luxuries like being able to say “the grass is green because go-look-it-up-on-the-internet.”
But, probably not.
I don’t know if it’s universal, but I think many verbal transgressions (“mistakes” some parents call them since it sounds less harmful) are usually the result of the three states of exhaustion:
- Physical exhaustion – sometimes masked as Just-Trying-To-Keep-It-Together. Like the time you finished cleaning the house then opened the bathroom door to watch the Star Wars Lego parts make their way past you on a sea of bathtub water. Your kids blink innocently at you from under the washcloths they’ve placed on their heads and you proclaim the obvious: “But… there were no oceans in Star Wars!” Then you remember the Dagobah swamp and run to get towels before the water reaches the hallway carpet.
- Emotional exhaustion, a.k.a. you just can’t seem to find any time to yourself. You think you’re having a nice moment with your cup of tea, after telling the kids to grab their jackets, when you turn around to find your kids repeating the F-word as they hop around in a circle. You can’t tell if they’re just mimicking your words or if they’re making fun of you. You also can’t remember saying that word out loud around them more than once… or four, maybe five times.
- Intellectual exhaustion, often the result of over stimulation and repetitive loud noise. You consider whether you’re really willing to turn the car around, but not until after you’ve yelled that statement to the entire back seat and slam the brakes at a red light. You also didn’t remember the windows were down. Other parents give you a nod of appreciation because their kids have suddenly gone silent. Yours, however, are still bickering.
And somehow they manage to grow up and you manage to keep it together and you all carried one.
Sure, there may have been that one day that you didn’t think to tell your kids not to walk across a still damp carpet, which is how you ended up stuffing wet socks into your purse at your cousin’s birthday party, but those things happen. You may also have dropped another curse word or two, but parenting isn’t perfect.
All you can hope is that your best was good enough and that someday you’ll be able to sit in the stillness with the luxury of wondering how and where they will soon stuff their own wet socks.