There’s a sprinting to a marathon quality about this particular moment: the final days of school and routine schedules before a long holiday break, with emphasis both on holiday and break.
Color me rushed. I’m taking a brief few paragraph-pause to jot a blog post, though, like catching a teeny-tiny breath. I need it! A friend said of life with newborns—in her case, twins, now a mature two-and-a-half apiece—“sleep deprivation is a form of torture.” You don’t need a lot of perspective—she’s chasing after toddlers for goodness sake—to see something more clearly. Parenting adolescents isn’t always pleasant. I hope I don’t look back and recognize it as a form of torture but I just might. Fortunately, love is at the forefront (vying for first place with annoyance).
Torturous or not I hope I learn enough to help my children navigate their own challenges with optimism and earnestness and a willingness to roll up their sleeves and try. In the thick of it, it’s hard to know whether you’re doing any of that. You don’t get perspective when you’re sleep deprived. You barely get it with teens, unless their sleeping coincides with your being wide-awake (and moving beyond stewing).
Case in point: I wrote a post on my pal Sarah Hoffman’s terrific blog about how different it was to buy a dress for my preschool boy than for my preschool girl. Perspective takes time, in my case, a lot of it (there’s a twelve-year gap between the first preschooler and the fourth).
My limited perspective, though, goes like this: details, from Disney exposure to eating dessert first sometimes to getting the homework done every night really don’t matter. What matters more is helping our kids care for and about themselves and for and about others—and to be curious, which means, inherently, willing to fail sometimes. For us parents, it means walking, as a reader brilliantly noted “walking that fine line between hard-ass and doormat.”
You can only note on a week this absurd—in my house and well beyond it—that people, plural, tweeted about Lil Kim’s demise rather than Kim Jong Il. Saskia, if she understood anything about either Kim, might just give you a rock and roll sign for that one.