Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Working On IT

I don't think it's uncommon to go into parenthood with some romantic notions, or at least some naive ambitions. Even I, the eternal pessimistic, the pregnant mama who fully expected curve balls and struggles, even I had unrealistic expectations for my relationship with my firstborn, my boy, my rooster.

See, I grew up pretty much without a father. He didn't officially run off for good until I was ten, but even in the decade of his presence, his absence was frequent. When we saw him, he was angry, or drunk. Not both, usually, as drinking made him seem as happy as it made the rest of us sad, at least until he passed out. So given the lousiness of the father/daughter thing, I think I had subconscious dreams of "a do-over" in the mother/son department.

You don't really get a do-over with childhood, though, do you. And if you did, it certainly wouldn't come while you are parenting -- which is SO NOT child's play.

Another thing I've come to realize about my own misguided assumptions is this: by marrying a man the polar opposite of my father, a man as gentle and mild-tempered as my father was volatile and acerbic, I did not guarantee myself anything. I did not guarantee myself a placid boy. You can marry a saint, but when the genes do their little Bingo Ball spin, you get who you get and you don't get upset. As a matter of fact, I myself am not as placid as a mother as I would have liked to believe.

It turns out? I yell. Wow, I never expected to be a parent who yells. I, in fact, HAD and DESPISED parents who yell. And still I yell. But I am working on it.

I the "working on it" list these days, you will find, along with 250 household topics (like fixing the sprinklers broken for almost a year), these parenting items:

- yelling less, breathing more
- modeling the gentleness I hope to instill
- putting aside those romantic notions, and dealing with reality head on

Wish me luck. These, too, may be romantic notions... only time will tell.

(PS Thanks to those of you sending the good emails, thoughts, comment lately. Sorry I'm in email hibernation. I will try to write soon, it's high on the list. I'm struggling a bit, as I know you can see... but I am working on it...)


Niksmom said...

Working on it...that's all any of us can do and hope we get it marginally right. Hang in there, sweetie. Hugs. BIG hugs!

gretchen said...

Yesterday I found myself listening to John Mayer's "In Repair" over and over in the car. "I'm in repair, I'm not together but I'm getting there..." Somehow an encouraging mantra for me.