Friday night, I had one of those parenting moments that leaves you with a warm glow and a sense you must be doing something right. After getting through Friday night supper and family worship without any fights or meltdowns, we suggested to the kids that we put on a Veggie Tales video for the last half-hour before bed, and they suggested (in agreement with each other!) that we play a game of Bible charades/trivia instead. (We had to make the game up as we went along since we had neither a Bible charades nor a Bible trivia game in the house). We managed to agree on the rules and play happily for half an hour before they went off to bed. I was so impressed. They voluntarily chose to play a creative game with the whole family rather than watch a video — and they made it up themselves and we actually played it! For a brief moment I felt like our endless quest to raise happy, engaged, creative kids was actually succeeding.
A few hours later, at the church potluck, I had the pleasure of sitting across from an eleven-year-old who glared viciously at me through teary eyes because he was forced to eat at the table with his family rather than in the junior room with his friends, and a nine-year-old girl who sat in abject despair, her forehead touching the table, because she had had the tragic misfortune of getting the flat tortilla chips rather than the scoop-shaped ones with her haystacks. Both of them wept through dinner, neither ate a bite, and we whisked out of there as soon as we decently could, while our brethren and sistern in Christ (mostly the sistern, I’m sure) watched our whole display no doubt thinking these poor children would have been better off being raised by wolves.
A couple of hours later, we were all outdoors enjoying a Sabbath afternoon walk on a beautiful fall afternoon, laughing at the antics of Max the Wonder Dog and pointing out to each other trees turning colour, two white swans sitting on the grass, a perfect rainbow stretching from ocean to cliffs — and just enjoying each other’s company.
Parenting. Honestly. I’m not allowed to blog about it so much these days as the kids are getting old enough to read my blog, but those last twenty-four hours illustrated the highs and lows of this crazy roller-coaster ride as well as anything could. The heights and the depths, all in one October Sabbath … to be repeated over and over till they grow up, or Jason and I lose all ability to function.
Here’s what I wonder: if the roller coaster of parenting is able to induce practically DSM-IV levels of craziness in people even as (relatively) sane and balanced as I believe myself and my husband to be, what does it do to the people who are, candidly, pretty crazy right from the get-go? I know they’re out there and I know they’re having kids — how does everybody survive this ride???