Oh, brother.


Yesterday was much better. Yesterday was payday, with all the cigarettes and caffeine and fresh, nutrient rich groceries that payday entails. We did the shopping, I ate roughly eighty-four thousand tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots, and we went to a cookout at a friend’s house. After socialization (and chemicals, and vitamins), I am no longer batshit insane.

So! Of course! I woke up! Very early today! And I could not go back to sleep because of nebulous worries about my future parenting skills! My brain is AWESOME. This stuff is so incoherent — the worry, that is, not my brain, ha ha — and I don’t know how to put it into words. I am not worried about my parenting right now. You see, right now I have all the answers and know all the solutions and am generally some sort of super-mother (able to leap tall speech impediments with a single jaw exercise). Connor is not always going to be small and trusting and easily entertained, though, and what then?

No, really: what then? I can tell him why the sky is blue, but what do I tell him the first time he asks me what a “nigger” is? What do I do if he’s gay and his friends find out and decide, cruelly and vocally, to no longer be his friends? When he’s 17 and gets his heart broken into twenty billion pieces by some girl (or guy) who wasn’t good enough for him anyway, how do I make it better? I mean, they don’t even MAKE Band-Aids that big. When he’s 21 and decides, in his third year of college, that he hates his entire life plan and really wants to be an underwater basket-weaver, “But Mom, I don’t think I’m good enough, and I’ve spent all this time learning to be a lawyer, and underwater basket-weaving is expensive, and I’ll never make any money, but I hate being a lawyer, and maybe I don’t care about money, but what if I’m terrible at the basket thing,” how do I guide him? Obviously, I need to bolt awake in bed at, say, 4:45 to figure these things out.

In that interview I did a while ago, I said that the best thing about being a parent was being able to see that my efforts were working — that I was doing right by my kid, and it made me feel great. That’s not going to last forever, though. He’s not always going to be a bright, cheerful toddler who will accept any answer from Mommy, any consolation, any goofy game, just because it’s Mommy. I’m not going to stay infallible, and books and doctors and other moms won’t always have guidelines. Eventually we will be crossing uncharted waters, my son and I, and when that time comes I have no doubt that there will be serpents and danger. What I can’t figure out is how to keep us from sailing off the edge of the world. (Please, ignore my stupid, overextended metaphors. I am so tired.)

I think, although I could be wrong, that these are issues that all moms struggle with. If I can apply a little logic to the situation, I come to the conclusion that all kids must struggle with them — otherwise, moms probably wouldn’t. So how come I don’t know this stuff? If I ever came home and asked my mom what a “faggot” was and why it made my friend cry, why can’t I remember the answer?

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6 Responses to Oh, brother.

  1. dedanna says:

    You do what a mother should do. You tell him the truth, and hope that he learns from that.

    If he doesn’t, he’ll have to learn the hard way, on his own.

    There are some things that kids have to learn and figure out on their own. We as parents can’t do it all for them.

    At a certain point, and you’ll know when the time comes, you let go and let God. This applies to parenting, too.

  2. slightlyscruffy says:

    I think, although I could be wrong, that these are issues that all moms struggle with.

    dads too, I assure you.

  3. Alicia says:

    I think that when you’re in choppy, uncharted waters that it’s better not to have a map. You have a solid foundation of trust with your kid. Sometimes, you’re going to have to tell him that you don’t know the answers. Sometimes, you’re going to help him more by reminding him that there are awful people out there and the reasons behind their cruelty are almost unfathomable.

    You guys are going to be okay. You’ll teach him to be a good, kind person. You’ll teach him to trust without leaving himself too vulnerable. You’ll teach him to dream, to ask questions, to figure things out for himself. No, he won’t accept any answer “just because it’s mommy” forever and he shouldn’t. What’s important is that he knows that mommy will always be there if he needs her whether he’s 5 or 15.

  4. Anne says:

    Every parent must struggle with this – at least, the thinking, caring kind.

    All you can do is your best. None of us can be perfect parents, with perfect answers, (did any of us have parents who were better than good enough, and sometimes not even that?) and the best parents imo are those who show their kids how to be good people by being good people themselves. And by showing that it’s ok to have doubts and worries and fears and even terrors because they all pass and everything is ok in the end. Parents who don’t pretend to know the answer to everything.

    (remind me of this when I’m having the same thoughts?) ;)

  5. lethal says:

    Having resources makes lots of things better, or at least seem that way for a while.

    Love you.

  6. deliberatelyscruffy says:

    the ideal situation, I think, though, is to have resources after having lived (and prevailed) for a while without them, or at least with less of them. That way, resources are doing all for you that they can, but you still have the confidence of knowing that your own skills will get you by whatever happens.

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