Parenting can be summed up in the following actions:
1) sweeping crumbs across the kitchen floor. Precisely one million times a day.
2) bending over to pick up the toy/ food particle/ blanket/ discarded shirt/ whatthefuckisthateww. Precisely one million times a day.
3) shouting down the stairs: “I will not answer you when you shout at me from downstairs!” See also: o_O
4) agreeing that washing the unused Tupperware is much less work than asking the toddler to please stop licking it and stepping in it. Preferably in that order.
5) stifling laughter as you exclaim that your daughter’s 16 barettes, 3 pig tails and gobs of clown make-up are the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen, so much so that others outside our walls must not be allowed to see it.
6) buckle carseat, unbuckle carseat, buckle carseat, unbuckle carseat, buckle carseat, unbuckle carseat, buckle…
7) allowing yourself to be covered in blankets, pillows, articles of clothing, dolls, plush chairs, and godonlyknowswhatelse just for that pealing giggle & five extra minutes of laying down.
8 ) resigning to the fact that your Christmas decorations will not be allowed any lower than two feet over the baby’s tallest reach…and that you’ll employ cat-like reflexes when you hear her pulling a chair across the livingroom floor.
9) meaning the words: “I wish it was me with that nasty cough and not you”
10) shoving aside all dignity and clapping with wild abandon when your child is singing the wrong words to Silent Night draped in an angel costume while giving the stink eye to her little sister creeping her shining moment in the church play.
This weekend I had the most glorious of all Sundays planned- tree cutting and picture taking and all kinds of glorious memory-making-moments packed into one afternoon. And when I realized the rain wasn’t going to quit, my emotions began to dissolve into a pile of hopelessness. And all it took was three little Ladies so proudly displaying three stuffed animals from the Sunday School teachers to remind me that the memories aren’t about the actions anyway- it’s about the…well, the memories, dammit. That we make them at all is what counts. Tradition is something near and dear to my heart and, most especially at this time of year, sometimes my intentions get in the way of the reason I’m striving so hard to ‘get it right’. This weekend’s change in plans marks the second holiday near-disappointment. (The first was the momentarily heartbreaking discovery that we donated all my garlands and lights along with an old artificial Christmas tree last year. The tears, they flowed.)
I’m proud to admit that while these moments of regret I had were discouraging, I did not let them fester like I normally would have. I was sad, I was disappointed, I felt like a bit of a failure…for a split second. My husband is famous for always seeing the bright side of everything (it’s as annoying as it sounds 99% of the time, yes) and rather than become frustrated with his impulse to “fix” things…I tried it on for size. Admission? It’s a much easier way of life. I’m realistic enough to know that some fixes are not simple, some things are more intricately placed. But in this case, it was much more comforting to my good intentions to give in to whatever karma was trying to tell me: you can’t control everything. And what’s more? You shouldn’t, dammit.
So tonight? Even if it’s still raining (why is it raining in December, by the way?) we’re going to step onto a lot full of trees that someone else has cut, I’m going to leave my camera behind and watch through my EYES what it’s like for my daughters to look at the rain drops twinkle in the darkness on the tips of the fir trees. I’m going to let them pick the ugliest, most sparse, pickiest tree known to man if it makes them giggle/ smile/ not cry. Then we’re going to go to Tim Hortons and I’ll pay the counter girl extra dollars to put whipped cream on top of everyone’s 1/2 hot chocolate, 1/2 chocolate milk and try not to jump in anticipation of Maëlle spilling hers. I’m going to let them be louder than I normally would, I’m going to buy them a donut at far-too-late-o’clock and Ryan and I will be parents of the fricken year tonight. Because I said so. And parenting is mostly about what I say anyway:)