Rolled Sleeves


I can relate.

Not to the mom, I am the Steve Martin character, at least I can get like him more often than not, and I am married to the King of the Roller Coaster.  Calm, steady, deal with it as it comes, live for today.  Hands up and tight turns are in Michael’s DNA.

I’m a projector.  I play things out in my mind.  If one of our kids is late, she has been kidnapped.  I have tried meditation.  I’ve done the breathing thing, stay in the moment, crap.  It lasts for a day, maybe a weekend, and then I’m back to wondering if they should start taking multivitamins or if the fact that I curse like as sailor has created an immoral hole their psyche.

Early on, it was clear that I was not going to change.  It’s how I’m made.  The best I can do is “manage” myself because I want them to have a life, really live.  I have counted to ten their whole lives, cried in the bathroom when I was scared for no good reason.  Despite my neurosis, I never wanted to be a hoverer, a smothered, so I let go, hope “it won’t happen,” but it is excruciating sometimes.

My children are all teenagers, so according to most articles, if any of my whirly bird mess has dented or damaged them, it’s done by now.  I tell them when they are whining about this or that, “I hope whatever issues you have you can get over in therapy.”

That’s probably not the warmest thing, I know.  I also say things like, “Oh, boo hoo” and “You’ll be fine.”  I’m not the cozy babying snuggly mom.  I can’t be.  My heart still lifts when I touch their hair, kiss their faces, watch them sleep, hear them laugh, still.  It’s really too much for me sometimes, so I create distance.

If anything ever happened to them, if something goes so wrong that I can’t fix it, or they can’t fix it, I honestly lose my breath trying to find a way out of those thoughts.

So instead, I’m the get things done, tuck your shirt in, act accordingly, I’ll wrap you up like a burrito in bed, act like a lady, you have too much mascara on, I don’t see a napkin on that lap, mom.  I laugh with them and tease them sure, but I also give them skills, try to show by example, foster culture, going for it, organization.  I want them to be prepared, protected, safe, so I do what I can without making them nuts, close my eyes, and hold on.

Parenting is messy, sweaty hands messy.  Like Gil in the movie, I too hate mess.  Michael can’t sew costumes, but he has taught me the value of the ride even as the car rattles, climbs and plummets again.  He holds my hand, refuses to entertain my crazy delusions, and helps me feel the wind on my face as life whooshes along.

I could not do it without out him.

My thoughts from the laundry room.  Relax.

4 thoughts on “Rolled Sleeves

  1. spot on! same same same!!! one day I may end up in the neighbor’s car too so I must have faith in our kids and enjoy the ride. thank goodness for the Michaels in the world:))

  2. I probably have no standing to comment. I have no children of my own. But whenever I hear someone talking about their theory of good parenthood (sometimes these are direct but, far more often, are less so–offered up in parable or analogy–) or bemoan what they perceive to be their own parenting failures, I recognize more fully how inadequate as a parent I would be, had I chosen to become one, all those decades ago.
    I like most kids. I think I would have been a “good” parent, and have friends who have said as much about me. But the first rule of being a good parent, I think, is wanting to be one–which I have never done.
    Whenever this issue arises, I think about how really well that vasectomy has served me.

    1. Hahahaha. I agree that the want is primary. It is a tough and sometimes wonderful journey, but the older I get I really just hope for “good.” I’d be happy at the end of the game with, “She was a good mom.” Thanks for the comment, Ron.

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