Thursday, October 24, 2013

WARNING: Your Children May Require You to Endure Never-ending Embarrassment, Pain, and Worry

Last week I spent ten hours driving back and forth to the high school. I’m not kidding. An entire day. If I had any advice for new parents it’s this – buy a house across the street from the high school. Or better yet, right next door (that way you don’t have to worry about your child crossing the street). In the course of six days I took twenty trips to the high school and back. Marching band, play practice, Quiz bowl, forgotten instruments and uniforms, meetings, and PSATs. Each trip was valid (except maybe the mad dash over to the school with the oboe that was forgotten on the counter so that Child #2 could practice her solo with the orchestra before the concert next week).

We do a lot of things for our children. Some are things we never imagined we’d do. Like capturing and releasing a bat from my oldest child’s bedroom as I did one night this summer. Or volunteering to be the PTO president of the Elementary School because no one else wanted the job. Freezing (or roasting) on the sidelines of countless soccer games, getting up at 2am to meet the bus to retrieve a returning child from an overseas adventure, or doctoring the bleeding wing of a beloved chicken that survived a fox attack.

We joke about dirty diapers, baby barf, and potty training, but every parent knows that’s coming when she signs up. What we don’t anticipate is the rolling eyes, the disrespectful words, the outright rudeness. I remember shouting at one child, “If my friend treated me like this, I wouldn’t be her friend any more!” To which, the wise child replied, “You’re not my friend!”