As I've noted, Tuesdays are the day when my wonderful blogging friends use this space to let loose. There are no rules, not even that one rule about not talking about Fight Club.
Do you know Julie? She is spectacular. Truly. She writes over at By Any Other Name, and she'll tug at your heart when talking about her children, when she starts talking about her wedding [by way of her adolescent poetry] you start to get the sense that this is a snarktastic woman and then you'll go on to find a woman who has mad writing skills and who doesn't shy away from the big topics, like tattoos and Brazilians and Botox. She is multi-purpose awesome.
Also, follow her on The Twitter, where she makes things all better.
But first, this:
Like many of you fine people, I appreciate a good dose of irony. In literature. In life. In Alanis Morissette lyrics. (Hey. Let’s not get nit-picky, here.)
Still, there’s a wee bit o’ the ironic I can’t support when it comes to parenting. And that irony is this:
The very act responsible for creating a baby becomes increasingly difficult to enjoy once said baby’s in the works.
First, there’s the GESTATING. I realize some women kick into sexual overdrive whilst with-child. These ladies also bake pies from scratch, pair socks straight from the dryer and care about Monday Night Football. They’re just like me. Except not. Because my pregnancy trifecta was this:
Tired. Hungry. Tired. I wanted a nap. A sandwich. Maybe a 48-ounce porterhouse and another nap. I did not want anyone singing “Having my Baby” while pawing at me. Much.
Mercifully, the little darlings arrive and thus begins the LACTATING. Engorging and latching and pumping, oh my! I am Woman, hear me milk! Also hear me admit that nipple cream, breast pads and nursing bras are not the props of porn. (And please don’t suggest links to dispel this belief. I prefer to avoid baking AND the overlap between suckling and sexy. Sue me.)
Eventually however, the udders shrivel to make room for the actual REARING of your offspring (a brave new world Aldous Huxley conveniently ignored). You face feeding struggles, sleep issues, discipline conflicts, sobbing. And that’s just with your partner. The kid brings his own troubles and also craps himself for years. There’s little time for justice. And even less occasion for intimacy. (Besides whatever romance you can muster during an episode of - let’s say - Modern Family.)
But then. One day. All your delayed gratification culminates in the Final Parenting Frontier:
IGNORING the teenager in your house.
This stage presents a unique challenge because the fruit of your loins may stay up later than you; he may roam the grounds turning doorknobs, creaking floorboards, leaving you to worry he’ll burst into your bedroom while you’re - let’s say - watching Modern Family.
I have friends who scoff at potential “television disruptions.” If their kid walks in? That’s his problem, mister!
Still. I recall the one and only time I “disrupted” my parents and the vision remains tough to swallow.
I was sixteen and scheduled for the afterschool shift at a local bakery. Because we were overstaffed for the day, my manager relieved me of duty. (Clearly, he wanted to keep his BEST employees fresh for the evening.) Naturally, I grabbed a croissant and fled before he could rethink his choice.
Because this was the Stone Age (pre-cell phones), my parents received no warning to shut their bedroom door. I arrived in time to discover them in flagrante delicto (although in my memory, it was less delicto and more flagrante).
Holy Hugh Hefner! Armed with merely half a croissant, I’d stumbled upon the Grotto at the Playboy Mansion; but in lieu of cave-like ambience, we had Broad Daylight to illuminate the celebration at hand.
So to speak.
I’ll admit that for decades, I sought words more severe than “horrifying” to describe this experience. But with a teenager currently living under my own roof, I’ve since revisited the math. My most recent calculations suggest that poor Mom and Dad were only thirty-eight when I caught them in all their irony. Younger than I am now.
So yeah. I am, therefore, hereby issuing a formal apology. And it goes something like this:
Dear Mom and Dad,
I’m very sorry. For that day. For this post. For the period of time when I moved home in my twenties. And while it’s true that your ‘Convergence of the Twain’ is seared into my brain like grill marks on a three-pound steak, the encounter was for the greater good as it convinced me I never want my own children (your grandchildren!) to experience a similar trauma.
Your loving (in private) daughter,
p.s. The truth is Bill and I don’t have enough money saved up to pay for college and therapy. Instead, we’re investing in a strong lock for our bedroom door and keeping our fingers crossed.
So to speak.