When worrying about your children’s future gives way to dealing with them in the present.
When my children were infants, I worried – somewhat romantically – about their future. Would they grow up to be healthy and successful? Could I protect them from the evils of the world? Would they fall under the nasty influence of drugs?
Now, I just want a Sunday to myself.
One of the great blessings of parenthood is discovering friends with whose children are of similar ages to yours. An added bonus is having the kids actually get along with each other. We’re lucky enough to have that relationship a couple of times over. This results in the disappearance of the children to the basement after supper, leaving us adults to have some mature, quiet time with and extra drink and some adult conversation. This past Friday, as normally happens when adults are left to themselves, our adult conversation was monopolized with the subject of our kids.
My friend mentioned that if she could just see thirty years into the future, and be reassured her children were healthy and safe, much of her parental anxiety and stress would be relieved.
My answer? “I stopped worrying about that a few years ago. Now, I just want to watch the Godfather trilogy or even sit in the washroom without having to explain how a recycling plant works. Especially since I don’t know how a recycling plant works.”
I’m too tired to worry about the future.
I’ve resigned myself to accept that if I do the best I can to provide a safe, stable home; love and support; nutritious food; and an acceptable balance of entertainment and physical activity, I’ve done all I can to stave of heroin addiction in my offspring.
My battle has now turned towards the acquisition of free time.
My wife and I set up a work/life schedule designed to avoid sending our kids to daycare; it involved a lot of tag-teaming, but it kept our kids at home for the first three years of theirs lives. My son is almost 8; we’re still tag-teaming.
This, coupled with the usual life stuff – home repair and personal projects (you’re reading one right now) – means there is little time to stare at the ceiling and contemplate my navel.
Supper alone with kids last night (after homework, piano practice, snack, snack clean-up, showers, and obliterating 5 of the 12 sausages I forgot on the barbecue) was spent answering questions about the universe while reminding them if they took too long to eat, there wouldn’t be time for the extra-long bedtime story they asked for.
Bedtime is spent answering questions about what special plans could be made for the weekend. “What does contemplate our navel mean?” my son asks.
They’re asleep… time to make lunches, clean up from supper, clean up from making lunches, have my own shower and try to stay awake in front of the TV long enough to not lose a major chunk of Dexter’s storyline.
Morning resembles supper, except the deadline is switched from story-time to the school bell. Also, I’m a little foggy because I watched all of Dexter last night.
My life is no different from the majority of parents. I would say it’s even easier. There are parents who are single, have more than two kids, must tend to special needs, lose their jobs, or must deal with any one of a number of problems which is not part of my typical suburban life.
However, I am not them; I am me. We all have our own sources of stress, and personal needs which must be fulfilled.
Right now, parental clutter and long hallways of unfulfilled responsibility are my mountains to climb.
Anxiety about the future? Sure. My future is tonight’s supper not being early enough to make Sparks and Beaver meetings.
As for heroin addictions in adulthood; I’ll deal with that when as they grow up. Unless, of course, I’m in the middle of Godfather II; I remember that being a really good movie.
Photo—Dreaming in the deep south/