Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Parental Failure

Do you ever wonder if there has ever been a parent, especially a mom, who hasn't felt they were failing?

I went through that myself. Being left alone to raise two babies. Never having any experience with little ones. Even my brother and I were close enough in age that I have no memories of mom taking care of him.

Once the son was finally out of diapers he wasn't so bad. I had made so many mistakes it was kind of easy trying to coach him not to make the same. I seemed to know what he would do even before he did. Some I tried talking him out of. But many I knew from experience that he would get hurt, but not to bad and would survive.

Like when I saw him place a bale of hay in the driveway and lean a plank on it. I knew. I also kinda knew this day would come. I told him he might get hurt and he really shouldn't attempt what he was thinking. Then casually walked away and went about some work while listening for the inevitable...

But he fooled me. The inevitable I was waiting for never came. So I poked my head out and got a smile. Instead of screaming out in pain he was under a tree clutching himself at the groin. I walked over and asked if he was OK. He mumbled something that sounded like I might not want to know what he was saying. But I knew then that he wouldn't die. Just wish he would... I saw his shirt was a bit of a mess, so I pulled it up a bit and saw a nice dose of road rash. Nothing that some time wouldn't heal though.

Then out of my mouth came the immortal words. “I told ya so.” I walked away as he mumbled some more words and went back to what I was doing. Sometimes you really are better off allowing life itself teach the lessons...

I still felt bad though when I'd see him struggle while making friends and having a tough time in school. I'd feel like a failure when I couldn't come up with words of wisdom for some of the problems.

But a daughter! I was still young enough and dumb enough that all I knew about women were they were pretty, soft and something real nice to have around...

First time she had a crap that squished out the top of a sleeper I about died. After removing that nasty sleeper and removing that useless pamper I cringed. Uhh, I had to clean that from what??? No way. That's my daughter, I do not belong there.

I quickly devised my plan of attack. I wiped what I could from what I could see. I then carried my dear sweet daughter to the bath tub. Placed her in and filled it with warm water. I let her happily play while the water washed the mess away. Then I emptied and refilled the tub and rinsed. Maybe 12 times...

She was happy for the opportunity to play in the bath and I was relieved I would not have to go places I had no business going!

I kept with regular doctor visits to feel a little more secure about her health. This worked fine. Right up until the day he said she was getting older and should probably have a few things explained before being surprised and frightened about them...

Who? What?? Me??? Are you friggin NUTS?????????????????????????? These are the thoughts I remember went through my mind as he stood there with his jaws flappin at me.

I don't know if he saw in my eyes the fear that that idea brought or if he was just being all the professional he could be. But he handed me some literature in pamphlet form and said I'd do just fine.

Like a good daddy I read the stuff he gave me. All the while wishing I could find a nice spot in the Brazilian rain forest to run away and hide until she was about 60.

But I read. Did some research in encyclopedias and other books I could find. (There was no google back then.) Finally I found a baby sitter for my son and took my daughter for a daddy daughter day.

I was so uncomfortable! But managed to open my lips and let what I had learned dribble out. She was so danged cool about it I was mystified, lost, confused but yet very very relieved. But did I give her the warnings and information she needed???

The little shit went to visit her grandma. I was red faced when mom told me about what my daughter had told. Mom said she knew things that my mom never knew or understood.

Then one day there was a parent day at school. There I was having a good time, playing with kids and smiling. Three mom's walked up and asked if I was her dad. Yes, I said. I thought they were going to ask for my sugar cookie recipe, all the kids loved them and raved to their moms about them. But no...

Again I got very, very red faced. They all thanked me and told me my daughter explained these things to their daughters and their daughters had told them. They all said I did a great job and saved them from having to do it and even they learned a little.

Only one thing I maybe shouldn't have said to my daughter. I might not have done the right thing when I jokingly said, “Now do the world a favor, when your going through your monthly madness think about the poor chickens who go through it every day.

I get really embarrassed when moms around here say they think a lot more about chickens now...

It would be hard to be a total failure as a parent. We all do what we can with what we have to work with. What we can learn and what the individual child will allow us to do. Guess as long as we bring them to adulthood with enough skill to survive and keep up the struggle we all face, we do a good job.

Have a great day and smile. And pray to the gods that your daughter doesn't decide to become the teacher of her friends...
But do be a good parent and teach them things they really should know.
In the long run they will teach you so much more.

Now before you go, how about clicking on that Join button and showing us your smiling face. We're all family here in this world. We all have similar problems and lives. We all put up with idiotic decisions made by our governments. But we all need each other to make a better world possible...

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