Raising children is a difficult and thankless job, especially if the children are difficult and thankless people.
Sure, we have some control over the responses and attitudes of kids. Their manners are one of the many things parents blame themselves for the first (and second, and third) time(s) our darling pipes up, “That lady is really FAT!”
HOWEVER, one of my sons is consistently a little jerk whenever the mood strikes him. This problem is associated with some behavioral issues (fo’ real), but his comments still hurt. We’re talking accusations that I hate him, never believe him, always side with The Other Person, want to see him suffer, etc.
Seeing as he was raised about the same way as his siblings, I’m gonna go with a natural bent toward difficult/thanklessness.
Is this why I became a mother? To be put down by the thing I carried for 9 months based on the first day of my last period before conception and an actual birth which was earlier than the expected due date? DID I?!
I most certainly did NOT.
I thought I’d see the sorts of cute kid things people write about or make movies about. My babies would giggle and smile. Brothers would help sisters tie their shoes. Oldest children would pass down dating advice, and the girls would teach each other to do makeup. When all of them grew old, they would sit around our family room fireplace and reminisce about how happy The Good Ol’ Days were.
I at least expected a toddler running to me in slow-motion, with springtime sunshine outlining our happy faces and outstretched arms.
It’s been a mixed bag. Sometimes that bag is the last of the Lucky Charms and only the cereal bits and crumbs are left. I guess I shouldn’t get hung up on a bowl full of cereal dust. I need to stop assuming I’ll pour dust every time, when it’s only at the end of 20.5 ounces.
Even when I get a lot of marshmallows at the other times, there are plenty of oat pieces. Children are human, too. They can’t help it, which is somewhat endearing. Ya know -when that humanity isn’t horribly insultingy and disrespectingy.
These thoughts remind me of the handful of times other people have asked my boys about me. -Like on Mother’s Day. Usually, my offspring guess my age incorrectly and assume I enjoy doing dishes. The best answers are the candid ones; the ones they supply when given enough lines to expound, or to answer why they love me.
Another job similar to parenthood is teaching. School’s out for my kids (yay.) and I was up late perusing the FB page for their institution. I watched a short video about a teacher two of my sons had in the past. The teacher’s room mothers filmed every child in the class this year, answering questions about What She Always Says, What She Likes To Do, and What’s Your Favorite Thing About Her? I didn’t have any children in her class this past year, yet I was happy-crying.
I thought about the influential people in my life, parents included, and how I had never made them a full-on video about how I felt. What a neat thing for this teacher to hear, right then, how much her class loved her and what a difference she’d made in their lives. I think most people don’t ever hear from the people they influenced. They work each day, following a routine, sticking to their rules, and struggling with the difficulty and the thanklessness.
What do we do it for?
WHO do we do it for?
It’s cliché, but we do it for the children.
So every time a child tells me whatever popped past his brain and out of his mouth, I’m going to picture the Sunshine Moments. They just might get me past the cereal dust.