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  • Never Say Never

    July 29, 2005

    Prior to Sean’s arrival, I had some pretty lofty ideals about child-rearing. And since I had no children, I had a special license to make all kinds of proclamations about what I would and would “never” do if I had them. That license has since been revoked and I’ve had to relax a few of those ideals to accommodate my new reality. And eat a few words. Okay, a lot of words. And apologize to a few people. Okay, a lot of people.

    For example:

    Before Sean: “I will never take my kid to McDonald’s.”
    After Sean: “I will never take my kid to McDonald’s without someone small enough to follow him up into the play yard tubes.”

    Before Sean: “I will never turn my den into a giant toy box.”
    After Sean: “A toy box makes a very nice coffee table.”

    Before Sean: “I will never let my kid watch TV.”
    After Sean: “I will never let my kid watch TV unless Dr. Phil is on.”

    Before Sean: “I will never go more than two days without working out.”
    After Sean: “I will never go more than two years without working out.” (This one may yet again be revised.)

    I’m still desperately clinging to “I will never drive a mini-van. Ever.” and “I will never let my kid drink soda.”

    Along with relaxing a few standards and exorcising the word “never” from my vocabulary, parenting has also taught me to lighten up and take time to enjoy the simple things in life. For example, before I had a baby, I was particular about my clothes. I enjoyed dressing up and wearing nice clothes. Now I simply enjoy wearing clothes without someone else’s boogers on them. This became apparent at church recently when, right there in the house of God on the wings of a precious little sneeze, my son launched a snot rocket directly at me. It all seemed to happen in slow motion. I heard a cute little “ka-choo” and turned to see the look of horror on the faces of the brethren. A small girl cried out, “Gross!” followed by a chorus of “eeee-yew”. If only she had yelled “Duck!” But it was too late, I was hit. Oddly enough, after the projectile snot incident, we had the entire pew to ourselves. And no one asked us to lunch.

    In the same way, I used to really enjoy eating out at a nice restaurant. By the time Sean was 6-months-old, I was happy if I could just eat sitting down. These days I am happy if I get to eat from plate that doesn’t have a chunk of someone else’s previously chewed pot roast positioned as a garnish. It’s the simple things.

    Having children later in life teaches you that if you have a teachable spirit, you will never be too old to learn, never too old to admit you were wrong and never too old to change your point of view — in other words, humility. It also teaches you that if you don’t want to have to apologize to a lot of people, don’t use the “n” word (“never” — what were you thinking??) and to appreciate any time you get to wear booger-free clothing.

    1 Comment »

    1. Antique Mommy says:

      SJ said…
      Thanks for sending your link. I laughed out loud. I will be checking back.

      Susan Jenkins

      7/31/2005 5:47 PM
      elizabeth said…
      I loved reading your story! I have had to eat my words several times after having three kids.

      Then:”I would never take my kids into a store without shoes on.”
      Now: “If I have to tie one more pair of shoes at every stop, I will go insane!”

      Then: “Bribing my children with sweets will only encourage an unhealthy relationship with food.”
      Now: “Chocolate, anyone?”

      8/04/2005 8:53 AM
      Mountaingirl said…
      I can so relate to this. I think we all have lofty ideas about child rearing until we actually have them.
      I still haven’t let my son drink soda, but we broke down and bought the mini van when the second one came along. 🙂 I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be a minivan mom. oh well. Life is great.

      9/07/2005 1:49 PM
      Shalee said…
      Since I have made myself several gormet seven-course meals out of my eaten words, I am living proof that you won’t get food poisoning from eating your past proclamations. (You may get nauseous, but don’t worry, it is a passing symptom). And as a bonus, I now have several recipes for humble pie in my repetoire that I serve myself on a regular basis. Good for the body, good for the soul.

      As a beacon of hope, I am here to post that you CAN defy the minivan idea. 13 years and 2 kids later (ages 9 and 5), we have never parked a minivan in our driveway. So stay strong and faithful to your cause, and you shall prevail!

      And as for soda, if you change your “never” to “not very often”, you will find yourself just as happy and satisfied with the outcome.

      Ahh, it’s the little things in life that bring such pleasure…

      September 17th, 2008 at 1:54 pm

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