Let us laugh together, and never lose our joy. –Denise Roy
After raising three kids, parenting Ev should be a breeze: I mean I should know how to do this whole discipline thing like a pro. I’m one tough Mama after all.
Just ask Ryan, Aaron and Lizi.
I remember the first time Ryan came back “home” for a visit after he moved to Chicago.
Ev was sitting in the high chair being two, and apparently I was taking it in stride. Ryan fixed a gaze on me that fell somewhere between incredulity and complete and utter frustration.
“Who are you and what have you done with the woman who raised me?!”
“I’m still the same Mama, but I’ve learned a few things in two and a half decades. Everything doesn’t need to be an issue. In fact, not much really matters in the long run.”
The truth the years have taught me: not much really matters in the long run.
Of course, Ev has an entirely different take on my mothering; he let me know how he feels about me in no uncertain terms just a few weeks ago.
“Because…because…because…This family is just….praclamatic.”
It took me a minute to decipher what he was trying to say.
“You mean problematic, Ev?”
Tipping his head in thought and then nodding vigorously, “Yeah that’s what I mean. It’s the word for the day.”
“What does it mean that this family is problematic?”
I was doing my best at this point to keep a serious face.
“Well, it means you just don’t want to be in this family anymore when you keep getting consequences.” Ev took a deep breath and sighed through a long drawn out pause, “Oh those pathetic consequences are just not good!”
“Well,” I repeated, pronouncing the word with two syllables just like Ev did, “if you would make better choices, you wouldn’t have negative consequences.”
Exasperated, Ev threw his hands up for emphasis, “I know. I know!”
“The problematic part for me, Ev, is the boy who doesn’t make wise choices and chooses not to listen instead.”
“I know, Mama but sometimes I just have no idea what people are talking about.”
“Oh I believe you know exactly which choices are wise ones.”
“Well…sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. But I promise to do better Mama. I promise I won’t let you down!”
Really? How does a mother not melt at that kind of promised sincerity?
Keeping a straight face while trying to discipline Ev could be an olympic sport based on sheer level of difficulty alone. He is simply so dramatic and so sincere and so naughty all at the same time.
Parenting has not grown easier with the years, but my heart has grown softer and more tender toward parenting–partly because I know that not much matters in the long run, but mostly because I know how quickly the “long run” comes to an end.
So these days I am parenting with my eyes wide open–embracing today in all of its beauty and chaos and wonder….
because with every blink I know another decade passes.