Sunday, November 16, 2014

Just Give Me a Sign

Parenting is a long-range deal.  An all embracing endeavor.  A game-changer.  A slow and steady sport, if you will.  One where perpetual fatigue leads you to make way too many bad analogies.   Regardless, it's a journey where you fumble your way through the fog, facing humility like you've never known, wondering how the hell you're going to make it successfully through without falling off a cliff.  Being human and all, you enter survival mode, clinging to anything and everything that might help you get through this seemingly thankless mission.

So, you look for a sign.

A sign, any, sign that you're not completely fucking it up.

Every so often, your child gives you such a sign.  It's the big ones people usually talk about.  The time a child chose to donate money instead of keeping it, the time they gave up recess to help their friends find something they lost, the time they didn't quit even when they wanted to, the time they stood up and faced a bully to protect a classmate, the time they stood up for themselves, both with kids and teachers.

But let's face it, how often do these things really happen?  If we only looked for the big signs we'd be pretty darn miserable most of the time, because with the "goal" 18+ years away, there's no way to know whether we're guiding our kids towards an independent and happy adulthood, or towards lunacy.  And sadly, despite pathetic fantasies that run on a loop over and over in our head, parent teacher conferences do not begin with "your kid is ok! you're not fucking it up! hooray! let's have some tequila!"

Wouldn't a sign like this be amazeballs?

So, we look for the small signs, and we hold on to them like nobody's business.  Today we got such a sign.  Easy there.  We know this is shocking to you given the buildup. We'll pause to let you process.

Pause.

See, yesterday our kid did one of those things they're not usually supposed to do: she went to a party and ate our favorite lunch and overindulged in oreos, marshmallows and chocolate for two hours.  This is of course awesome, but there's still that gnawing feeling of knowing you're giving in to treats waaaaaay too often.  This of course reminds you that crap, you're giving in to a lot of things waaay too often.  And then your mind starts racing through all the little things you screwed up that morning alone.

So when we stopped at a supermarket on the way home from said party, we swooned when mini  declared "I can't look at one more chocolate!" and proceeded to walk to one of those healthy aisles, you know, the ones on the "perimeter" of the grocery store that you're supposed to do all your shopping from but never actually do.

She stopped when she reached the cucumbers, stared intently, and began to speak.  And then, in what we're sure was sparked by her intellectual brilliance and excellent parenting, she spoke, in her best possible Homer Simpson voice: "mmmmm........vegetables......" and requested soup for dinner.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS, PEOPLE!!!???

A child asking for vegetables on her own is clearly a sign.  It must be.  It has to be.

This means that whatever awaits us on this cold Monday, we will have a fantastic day, because yesterday, we got a sign that we're not completely fucking it up.  And that's enough to keep going for one more thankless week.

Vegetables, yo.  Who knew?