I read this blog post from a blogger I follow. He’s funny, his writing is very real and given that he has many more years of experience in the ephemeral field of parenting than I do; his posts make me feel more confident that all is not lost and my head may not explode…today at least.
When I was reading his latest post last night I realized that it was absolutely true in the context of my life. No matter how many times I’ve been at loggerheads with my folks, looking them straight in the eye and telling them off was never an option at all. Of course they aren’t the kind of parents who inspire that kind of disrespect but every child goes through the phase when the connection between them and their parents is at an all time low and you just can’t imagine that you are related at all.
And throughout my childhood until I left home, we did not piss my father off. We aren’t at all a patriarchal-sort of family but the idea of facing that grim, disapproving look on his face and having that heavy cloud of discord hanging over our home gave me the heebie-jeebies as a kid and I didn’t relish it as an adult either.
But getting back to present day…MLM has no compunction saying “NO” to either his father or I. He has had some epic meltdowns in public to an extent where I avoided quite a few team lunches and other outings with friends and co-workers simply because I didn’t want the slightest opportunity of a trigger to be present. His main failing, if I may call it that, is that he knows very little fear or trepidation from the unknown. All kids reach for a hot iron, fall off from some place, get avoidable booboos but this child is almost blind to it all.
He is what I once called a “misguided missile” and that description stuck in my head ever since.
On a road trip with friends of ours, he charged at a herd of buffaloes grazing patiently simply because he wanted to be close enough to see them. That he has seen more buffaloes than he may care to in his life time probably did not occur to him and off he went! That they were bigger than him, had horns and hooves that could inflict pain did not occur to him and he just jetted off with glee on seeing them. Red ran after him and picked him up just in time. What did the child do about our admonishmen?t He laughed it off and ran after birds next.
As time goes by I find that whatever has taken his fancy at a particular moment is something that he becomes entirely engrossed in. One hundred percent. It becomes difficult for him to stop himself from doing or exploring whatever has fallen in his cross hairs. So much is his enthusiasm towards that particular activity that he develops blinkered vision and is immune (most of the times) to the surroundings which includes a yelling banshee of a mother.
While I debate the worthiness of his adventurous spirit vs that of a more cautious child, I can also appreciate the utter abandon with which he does things. There is not one iota of any artifice or anything calculated in his enjoyment. One might say he was truly a free spirit. And one might say it when one has no has no other option but to view her life as a glass that’s half full because while you don’t always like your kids you do pretty much always love them. I mean how else would you explain that your child while cozying up to you invokes his innate goat and chews on your sleeves or collar? Mother love is an all encompassing, incomprehensible, (un)avoidable thing.
If only parenting was on time share basis….