Sunday Confession– Able (11-9-14)
Back in the day, when I was a silly, giggly, tween girl, I’d sit around with my girlfriends & do those ‘What’s Your Life Going To Be’ games. You know, where you write out a gazillion different categories from husband to number of kids, from career to type of house, from the car & color of it to how many pets, what kind & even their names. Then you’d come up with a number somehow & circle that one down, making it your fate, going through all the categories until every one had an answer circled in it, determining your happily ever after destiny. Sometimes we’d even do the same with planning out our weddings. I was going to have a strapless mermaid dress made of ivory tafetta, 16 bridesmaids wearing neon pink & blue polka dotted dresses, with a Gone With the Wind look for the groomsmen, orange peonies in my bouquet, at a gazebo in the woods, marrying this boy Matt Skarbe that was from my grandparent’s neighborhood. (Who later on became my first kiss behind my grandparent’s garage, also, lol!) As a teenager, those little made-up stories give way, evolving into more mature novellas, with a little more realistic quality, though still incredibly naive yet. There’s more thought put into the storyline based on newly discovered system of beliefs, passionate interests, & personal opinions, that emerge with puberty raging in full force during high school. Eventually, through the transitioning into adulthood during the typical ‘college’ years & then being bitch slapped across the face by full-fledged adult status somewhere around the time one’s done getting turnt up around-the-clock just because they can, those ideals of marriage & parenthood are way more poignant than ever. But, it’s still a false perception. Being a parent is NOTHING like you ever think it’s gonna be, not in a million, katrillion, years!!!
When I got pregnant at 21, before my visions of raising mini-me had reached full adulthood, I imagined all sorts of wild fantasies of being the perfect parent so I could raise a perfect kid. I would never, EVER, co-sleep, use a pacifier, put my baby on his belly to sleep, feed em non-organic foods, have sugary sweets, run around like wild beasts in their underwear. I thought I’d have the best of the best nursery furniture, brand-new department store label baby clothing, the latest & greatest baby gear, the most-popular of toys. Vividly I pictured a dad completely hands-on, enraptured with his role, wanting to be at my beckon call, jumping over hurdles to meet the demands of his partner & child. We were going to be a picture perfect family, doing everything together, giving our child every opportunity in the world to live a life full of love & happiness, being able to reach all of his dreams & have every wish come true.
What I got was a second baby one year & one day later, an unsupportive man-baby who barely made it to work enough to pay the bills, a falling apart, rodent-infested house, donated & secondhand baby necessities, an isolated existence, & severe post-partum depression. Reality bites you in the ass, hard, sometimes. So I ditched the douchebag, got myself a decent job that had career potential, & found myself a pretty good guy to try this happily ever after nonsense with again, adding two more kids to the mix. By now I had kinda figured out that that fairytale image of parenting perfection I had imagined was complete & utter bullshit!
Since then, I’ve had so many more ups & downs that have written, & rewritten, my book, probably a thousand times over again. My ideals have come to reflect what I am able to do realistically, not as some childish fantasy, that I have the wisdom now to see, was greatly influenced by the parenting standards portrayed by the media & high-society, both of which are not a true reflection on who I really am. So what if we’re a family of 6 in a three bedroom house with only one bathroom? We are able to keep a roof over our heads. So what if I regularly shop for everything except socks & underwear at the local Salvation Army & Goodwill stores? I am able to keep clean clothes on my children’s backs. So what if my husband doesn’t have a suit-n-tie wearing, 9-5, M-F desk job that affords us materialistic luxuries? We are able to pay our bills without credit or debt & have a small budget for fun as well. We are able to provide our children with everything they need & most of what they want, though it may not be the latest or greatest, or have the highest-priced label.
My kids are healthy, happy, & most importantly, they know that they are truly loved unconditionally by their parents. They don’t need the best that money can buy in order to reach their dreams, they only need a dream! I am able to parent my children by example in any circumstance that life throws my way. That is the greater lesson to be learned when you look back on all those childhood fantasies of happily ever after- no matter what choices you ended up circling in the game, you undoubtedly will still have the same, powerful, unconditional love for your child.
Had I actually ended up finishing college, becoming a nurse, marrying a doctor, living in a mansion, while driving Cadillacs & Mercedes, I would still love my children & do all that I am able to do for them to raise them right by example. Money doesn’t provide the examples of kindness, generosity, empathy, manners, & respect that I want my children to have, & neither does the popular choices of must-haves that the media tricks you into believing will raise your child right. There shouldn’t be shame in providing what you are able to because it only takes a parent that loves their child unconditionally & raises them to do the same that makes the kind of happily ever after story a child could never dream.