This marks the first full week back to school for my girls. Along with the return to school, comes the return to driving my daughter Virginia downtown and the return of some quite meaningful talks. Today we had a discussion that I have decided to write about, because unless you are a parent, you may not realize why parents are they way they are.
This actually started Sunday night. On the way home from the store, Virginia had told me she needed a brown paper bag for school. Fine timing – now that we were almost home. I told her to remind me “tomorrow” (Monday). Monday Chris had a day off and picked Virginia up from school instead of her riding the bus to my office. He also made a trip to the grocery store sometime during the day. Then last night, as I crawled into bed with my PJ’s already on (even thought it was only 8 pm), Virginia pops into my room to remind me she needs a brown paper bag – for the very next day. Fabulous timing. She couldn’t remind me earlier? She couldn’t ask Chris earlier? Putting my thinking cap on, I texted neighbors, and luckily, I found one that had a bag! So I told Virginia to run over and get it (as I was already in my PJs). First she threw a fit because it was already dark outside and she didn’t want to go out, but I pushed and had Klara go to keep her company to get this dang bag. Crisis averted.
Now another school requirement, she is in need of a hard-back book that can be disassembled for an art project. I just so happen to have several I am getting rid of. They are nice, but since I am getting rid of them, what do I really care happens to them? So I volunteered the books to her Art class, and awaited to hear back from Virginia if her teacher wanted them. As we drove into school this morning, I was told I forgot the books. Apparently I missed the part where Virginia told me her teacher wanted them – oh wait – I don’t think she did tell me. My mind-reading must be failing me.
So this prompted my discussion with Virginia on parenthood. It went like this:
- What most people (especially kids and those people without kids) do not realize is that all they have to think about and remember things for is themselves. How sweet it would be to only have to be concerned with your own life and own concerns.
- Once you get a job, your concern may stretch a little, depending on the people who rely on you as part of your job – this may be more for some than others.
- Then let’s say you get married. You may tend to focus a little more on another person (your spouse). But ultimately, you are still only responsible for yourself. Before you want to argue about this – give it some thought. Your spouse is an adult. You are both capable of taking care of yourselves. You may lose some focus on yourself to care for your spouse and your job, but ultimately you can still dedicate much of your focus on your own wants and needs.
- Perhaps you decide to get a pet. A wise decision if you want to truly start to learn to care for something that depends solely on you. Starting to see where this is going?
- Then enter parenthood. The chain grows, and grows and grows with each child. So this ends up being the scenario – the scenario I am living. I spend my day like this. I get up and get ready to go to work and take Virginia to school. I go to work and take care of other people’s lives. The kids get out of school, I get out of work and I have to return to focusing on them. I keep the household running (paying the bills, buying groceries, doing laundry, cleaning, etc). I have to run here and there and everywhere to keep the kids in clothes and supplies and whatever demands they throw at me for school and or enriching their lives. Then there just may be a moment where I don’t have to focus on anything. A Me moment. I may go to my bedroom to have quiet time – the first of the day – but then I’m followed by kids and a dog. They get upset when I shoo them out and say leave me alone. But as I explained to Virginia – just as she loves to sit alone in her room and be to herself sometimes, I too long for those moments where no one demands anything of me. Moments that are extremely rare for a parent. Sure I’ve added Zumba into my life so I can do something for myself for once, but I still need downtime. Quiet time.
So put all this together and the point of my discussion with Virginia arises. With so many people and so much in my life that I have to be concerned with, is it really so bad that every so often I will forget something as small as a brown paper bag or a stack of books? Just once, it would be fabulous if those people who only have to look out for themselves would do so and not rely so much on those of us who are already over loaded. It’s no wonder parents like myself seem so forgetful. It’s no wonder some have meltdowns.
And there you have the first car discussion of the school year. Will it make a difference? Who knows. But I do love it when I can make some sense during these discussions. I guess I haven’t lost my mind completely. 😉