The Parenting Roller Coaster
People ask me how I do it.
How have I adopted two kids from very different backgrounds and blend it all together? How do I keep it balanced with them both?
I am lucky enough that people think my kids are pretty good, so they DO ask me for advice now and then. (I always say they aren't grown yet, so calm down people, call me in 20 years.)
Well, I handle parenting the way I have from the start, by just doing the best I can. I’m always open to self-reflection as a parent and really try to guide the kids the best I can with the knowledge I have at that time. I talk to them even when they don't want to talk to me, and I listen even when I am tired of hearing them talk.
Because they are siblings, I try to teach them the same respect I show the rest of my family hoping this will discourage sibling rivalry. I always try to keep in mind that parenting is like a roller coaster, so I’m not surprised by the quick turns or sudden drops. You must be this tall to ride this ride and sometimes I wonder if I should have worn higher heels.
I’m sure all parents have those moments where we think, " Am I doing this right? Or am I just messing them up? How much money should I put back for their therapy later?" Let me tell you…it is not enough money, people. How do I help them 'get it'?
The second you feel like you are the best parent on earth, the kids do something to remind you that you are far from being a perfect parent. But it also works the other way, just when you think you had better get a bigger mortgage on the house to pay for their future therapy, they do something to surprise you. Funny how this whole parenting thing works.
Full disclosure. I might be one of those people that can be accused of making my life seem perfect online. I don't try to pass my life off to be something it isn't, as much as I am a glass half full kind of person. I don't find myself talking about the bad things as much online like some people do. I often think it can be weird or attention seeking to see people post about their bad days, hard lives, their 'worst day ever' posts. So, I am not taking this moment to complain as much as I am confirming that my life is not perfect. And with that background, I would like to brag about my daughter a bit. So here’s a peak behind the big pink gay curtain of my parenting.
SO here we go…
My kids aren't always smiling. I am not always kind. I am actually so far from kind sometimes I wonder how they put up with me. I twist/pinch their little arms sometimes when they aren't listening (something my mom is desperately trying to get me to stop doing even though I learned the behavior from her during my own childhood!). I can raise my voice too loud. They can be selfish and not kind to the point I wonder if any of us will be talking by the time they are grown. Sometimes there is bed without supper because I refuse to be a short-order cook AGAIN! I can lose my temper and they can act like spoiled brats all while we grip onto the railing that much harder hoping this ride doesn't fling us into the next amusement park ride next door!
Then out of the blue, the roller coaster can change course.
Last night my daughter Janu decided she wanted to play on my computer. She wouldn't let me read what she typed. She proudly copied and pasted while fully editing her own work as her brother Tyler looked over her shoulder. (He won't leave her side unless an iPad is involved with a game of Angry Birds.) She even learned to print all by herself (after I changed out the ink that had run its course). Janu then grabbed the two pieces of paper together that she had hot off the presses and stapled them proudly- as to make a decree like a town crier. She sat us all down and then read it aloud to us.
I felt the tilt of the coaster pointing me upward to the sky as she read each word.
I attached the photo of her decree, but I will read it to you the way it was meant to sound. She is only 9 you know…
"Tyler is a good little brother. And he CAN be a handful but in MY eyes he is perfect. I hope he sees me as perfect in his eyes. I know what you are thinking, "He does see you as perfect in his eyes." But you don't know he thinks that. So when he does say if he does or doesn't…I'll be there for him."
As a parent, that is a turn on the coaster where you want to put your hands up and scream as you go down around the curve! Just when you think you can do no right as a parent this little treasure pops up. This is where the camera takes your pic as you holler with delight during the biggest dip on the ride. Suddenly, all the hard times are worth it! With every lecture a few words just might have seeped through. And the kids…well, they just might not need as much therapy money held back as you thought. But as I have already learned, I can't get cocky for a twist is just around the corner and another dip up awaits down the track as we head back up.
So you see, I am not trying to fake like my life is perfect. It is rather quite the opposite. But sometimes on the ride your hands are up with your eyes wide open and at other times you have to shut your eyes while trying not to throw up hoping it will be over soon. Not the parenting being over soon but that scary curve! Because as we gays with kids all know, the second the ride is over we are going to be begging to do it just one more time. But next time I will be wearing my heels.