Haven’t we all, at one time or another said, “When I have a child, I’m going to do things differently than my parents.” And then of course, when you are actually entrusted with the responsibility of a pint-sized, uncivilized, miniature human being — you do all the things your parents did, and even make up some new stuff along the way. That way, when your kid grows up he can list all the things he would never do as a parent. It’s the glorious cycle of life.
Really and truly, there are not too many things my mom did growing up that I plan to avoid. What I am discovering — the longer I’m at this parenting-thing — is that I hope to be more like her and not less.
My mom was pretty laid back about most matters. It took quite a bit to push her buttons and even when you did reach that elastic limit, she would freely extend grace most of the time. This came to mind the other day when my son had dumped an entire economy-sized box of Cheerios into the sofa. I guess he thought if he stomped on them like grapes, I wouldn’t notice. As I was shoveling Cheerios out of the depths and bowels of the sofa, I really had to focus to keep my humor. My own mother would have laughed about it and then served a mixing bowl of Cheerios for lunch. I mean it wasn’t like he was free-form mixing concrete in the garage or anything like that…
When I was about 9-years-old, I decided the garage needed cleaned out. The Neat-Freak Gene exhibited itself early on. So I hauled everything out of the garage, including a 25-lb of concrete mix, but since it was 25-lbs and I was 9-years-old and weighed not much more than that, I dropped it and it broke open. That’s when I had the great idea that I would hose it out… And the funny thing is that when you combine concrete mix and water – you get concrete!! I kept working quickly and quietly with the hose and broom hoping to get the mess cleaned up before anyone noticed, but I just kept making more and more concrete until finally my spaghetti-sized arms could do no more. So I ran inside and tried to tell mom that there was a growing mass of concrete in the garage. I now recognize that expression she had on her face. It’s the one where you hear a heavy thud somewhere in the house and then silence. Never a good thing.
Anyway, I expected when Mom saw my handiwork that she would blow a gasket and blister my behind, but she just grabbed a shovel and made a nice little sidewalk beside the garage.
Calm and creative. That’s the kind of mom I want to be.