Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Second Thing We Don't Know About You

When I was in second grade, I lobbied my teacher to be the first girl in my school's history to be the narrator at First Communion.  Being the narrator was the plum speaking part and, as I pointed out to Mrs. M., I couldn't understand why a girl - clearly so fond of her own voice - couldn't fit the bill.  (The fact that my brother, one grade ahead of me, had won the role the year before may have added to my motivation.)  Apparently Mrs. M. was ready to break with tradition and the job was mine.

I credit both of my parents for instilling in me the firm belief that the fact of my gender would not keep me from getting and doing what I wanted.  It is only recently that I have started to wonder whether or not I can really have it all.  My father, though, remains convinced that I'll get back to a place where that belief seems second nature.

In a recent e-mail, in which he attempted to console me after Big Boy threw a full-blown toddler temper tantrum at our small-town equivalent of Gymboree, my dad wrote:
I know being cooped up with two babies is hard for you.  I wanted you to grow up thinking that girls could do anything they wanted - and I think you did - so it must be frustrating when you can't - at least for now. Hang in there - it will be worth it when you look back - and they grow up so fast.
It must be frustrating when you can't do anything you want. 

Have truer words ever been spoken about parenthood?  About childhood?  About personhood?

What part of your own belief system has been shaken by becoming an adult and, if applicable, a parent?


  1. It's easy (easier) to say "they grow up so fast" when you aren't in the thick of it. Then it seems to drag - yes drag. As much as you love your kids, there are lots of days you just want to make it through. It's a matter of the sheer exhaustion and labor involved, not to mention the repetitive nature of teaching them everything. Yes, everything, in those first few years.

    So - even sitting here with one bird who has flow the nest and the other (who frequently barely speaks) - and as much as I miss the lively chatter and engagement we had, say, 5 years ago - it isn't really quick. You miss it when they aren't little any more, but when you stop and think about it - really think about it - you remember. All. of. it.

    I wonder if your mom would be as quick to say it goes by so fast.

    (This is one of the reasons that I knew when they were babies that I had to also work. I thought I'd go crazy otherwise.)

  2. Not in a place where I can weigh in with too much right now, but I had to say: what a great dad you have!

  3. Okay, here's mine, Kristen. I make really good decisions for myself and yet stumble all the time in the decisions I make for my kids, most noticeably in the school arena where we've had huge difficulties. I have not seen problems in them that were staring me right in the face.

  4. Your parents sound like great people. You should be proud.


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