Brief notes on parenting seem to be in order. I've tried to write you several other things this afternoon, but these notions just keep popping up. There's no arguing with them - they are here and they have to come out. So....
A friend's husband is newly out of work. They have 2 nearly-grown children. It's the nearly grown part that's troublesome. College tuition had been a responsibility the parents had taken on willingly; un-diploma-ed themselves, the acquisition of those pieces of parchment for their children had been a goal worth achieving. It still is... it's just unreachable now. My friend is trying to smile.... sometimes it seems like that's more effort than it's worth.
The promising middle son in a family of achievers hits a massive roadblock mid-way through college and suddenly it's all about him, him, him... just at the point in the parents' lives when they'd thought it would finally be all about them, them, them.
There's so much love and intelligence and genuine concern that the aggravation (and concomitant guilt) lies buried. But it's there, there's no doubt about it.
A daughter takes a high paying, high pressure, high profile job and cries herself to sleep every night. Exhaustion, criticism, deadlines, competition, the lack of any kind of balance in her day to day existence - this is why she gets the big bucks.
Her mother wants to call the Managing Partner and ask him to treat the kid a little better. Though her friends were appalled that she'd even think such a thing, they all understood the impulse.
Amster broke out the skillet and sauteed chicken breasts for Messers 4 and 6 and the kids ate as if they'd been stranded on a desert island for decades. It was the first home-cooked meal they'd had since Dad moved out; she was laughing as she told the story, but the pain wasn't that far beneath the surface.
Didn't a good mother manage to work 14 hour days 6 days a week while single parenting 2 bright boys and one very active dog all without paid help and still have a piping hot meal on the table every evening at 6? That's the standard to which she is holding herself accountable. Peter Piper Pizza or honey-and-banana sandwiches are not my idea of great dinners, but neither is a mega-serving of guilt.
I vowed I would never become one of those women... the kind who waxes eloquently about her grand-dog. But the Little Cuter and SIR saved Thomas Hawkeye from being rendered and I am in love. I'm resisting the temptation to include a photo, but I will share the Little Cuter's first written reflection on parenthood:
If I’m this in love with a dog, I can’t imagine how much I’ll love my own kids…
There are some very real benefits to being a parent. Watching your children come to understand the love that it takes, well, that's probably the biggest bonus of all.
Because, despite the money worries and feeding frenzies and bumps along the road, this is one of those cases where the journey is every bit as rewarding as the end result.