This week I’d like to share an essay my sister, Pam, wrote years ago when her boys (now grown) were little. She wrote it for a composition class she was taking.
Good thing I saved it because she didn’t. When I sent her a copy, she wasn’t impressed with it. Well, I think it rocks, but of course I’m partial. Here it is:
“Snazzy little high-topped sneakers, miniature pair of Levi’s and an attractive flannel shirt, laced with colorful suspenders. Yes, you can dress them up, but can you take them out? Children, those fiery little bundles of energy, who are lacking most social graces, and who seem to enjoy driving their parents buggy every time they’re taken to a public area.
“As a parent, I can testify to the constant annoyance, distraction and humiliation I am overwhelmed with every time I merely wish to grocery shop or wait in line at the post office. Family outings always begin with cheerful smiles and positive attitudes, but somewhere between start and finish, I become aggravated.
“Standing in long, slow-moving lines at the bank is a real treat. Amid the quietness are the never-ending sounds of my rambunctious boys, ages two and four. All eyes are on me throughout the wait. That would be fine, if only I was the type who loves attention. Walk-in movies are really rather a joke than anything else. The kids talk through the whole movie and we all leave wondering what it was about.
“Large amusement parks are stimulating and filled with fun, until one of the little ones refuses to get off a favorite ride, resulting in a temper tantrum. After awhile, overly tired children begin to wear down overly tired parents.
“And you’d think that parks are a relaxing and enjoyable place to picnic and stretch out on a blanket, but right when I’m convinced that parenthood is for me, my youngest is hurled off the twirling merry-go-round, landing flat on his face. At the very same moment, my oldest is blocking five bigger kids, laughingly, at the top of the tallest slide.
“After I’ve doctored my injured one and rescued my daring one, I return to my point of solace, only to step in a pile of yucky stuff left in my path by a wandering canine. Who says parks are a getaway?
“Restaurants are the spice of life! As soon as we are seated, the kids develop an acute case of ‘ants in the pants.’ In the course of the conversation with my spouse, every other word is directed at the children, instructing them to either ‘sit still,’ ‘stop yelling,’ ‘please do not pick your nose,’ and ‘absolutely no throwing.’
“Strange how children sense their parents’ embarrassment and continue to misbehave. After finally agreeing on what each child wants to order, they balk once it’s set in front of them. Instinctively they drink more than they eat. After two interrupting trips to the rest room, I say, ‘NO MORE.’ They whine. I threaten. We all leave wishing we had stayed home and brought in McDonald’s.
“After so many years, I have wised up. I put my four-year-old in preschool two mornings a week. I constructively use that time to grocery shop and run errands. My son anticipates kindergarten next year, but not half as much as I do. It is a milestone for all of us.
“It’s no wonder God put such an abundance of love in my heart when he elected me as a mother. Without all this love, I would be lacking in the patience and tolerance which solely gets me through my many tests of endurance.”
Next week’s post will feature an essay Pam wrote years later when the boys were teenagers.
So, do you have a parenting or grandparenting incident? If you’re not a parent, memories from your own childhood count, too!
I’d like to thank everyone who shared a parenting story with me last week. I’m saving them and will publish some in future posts!