Back to the future
I am told that I am a very calm mother. If that translates to "she does not worry" than I am projecting a false image. However, I am very discerning about sounding the alarm and usually do not rush to panic unless it becomes a safety or health issue. All the other concerns get tackled as situations arise in hope that my response becomes a learning moment. I am not sure whether it is the constant barrage of information that no longer allows one to plead ignorance, but young parents seem to be plagued with worry. It begins at the onset of birth and grows under the watchful eye of physical, social and intellectual development. Parents are questioning every baby step: Is he cryng more than usual?, Is he having the necessary amount of bowel movements?, How many words should he be saying by age one?, When should he walk, talk, jump, sklp, play sports, learn the alphabet, read a 20 page book, play the piano, learn a second language? Should he attend public, private or be home-schooled? Should he learn from the Montessori, language based or rote method? Should I accentuate creativity or focus on Science? Never ending inquisitions boggle the mind of most young parents while I am contemplating what to place in "S's" lunch that does not need to be heated. I am treading water minute by minute wiping her nose, playing dollhouse, chatting about the moon following us home, choosing a nutritiious snack that she will actually eat, planning a playdate or chasing her around the park while the other parents point the sundial toward the future. They are planning for the successful, well educated, influential adult, and I am savoring the days of childhood and appear to be naive about "S's" outlook in her later years. But, I have already been back to the future. I have witnessed by my own two contact dependent eyes the events of yesterday and the corrrelation to tomorrow and I have discovered that there are few connections. My two adult children have failed, accomplished, boasted, been defeated, risen to joy, been at the depths of despair and it has taken me all by surprise. Looking backward in quiet contemplation, I see two parents who spoke of the importance of good grades, stressed reading, drove miles for sports competitions, encouraged drum and clainet lessons, entertained countess frends in our home, modeled the morals, principals and values that we wanted to emulate, only to discover that our children were a compound of experiences, associations, personality, quirks and independent beliefs that would become equal partners with our influence. Never did all the worry, countless sleepless nights, finger biting, head scratching, tearful words of frustration provide me with a better view to the crystal ball of my children's future. It was only when I took a deep breath, counted to 1000, actually listened to the voice of reason and to the words of my two offspring that I drew the best maps for them to follow. My calmness today comes from the scars of yesterday and allows me to look back at the future. This time around, I follow the premise of one of my favorite expressions: "It is not what happens to me that counts, it is my response that actually matters".
Garden Ridge, Texas