“So… What’ll we be doing in a few more years (when Rockstar goes to winter sports camps/ develops the general ‘parents are uncool to hang with’ ‘tude)?”
“Couples ski lessons?”
There it is.
When Kings and I agreed on ‘til death do us part we were YOUNG. Er. We hear it all the time: Marriage Is A Lifelong Commitment. But almost a decade ago, that sounded like any other no-brainer good advice. A Bag Of Potato Chips Is Not Lunch. Smoking Causes Lung Cancer. (How many smokers even see the Surgeon General’s warning on the box anymore, before they light up?)
NOW it dawns on us – raising Rockstar is yet another thing Kings and I signed up for, to do together. Like supporting each other’s dreams and aspirations. Like ski lessons. There will come a time when the best thing we can do as parents is to let Rockstar grow up. Live his life. If he gets married and moves halfway across the world, we’d better be more than fine with "just" each other.
It might be prudent to uh, not hate each other too much when that time comes. <Ding>
Once, I had an ex whose parents never let go (I have 9 and moved around. If anyone could be identified, I wouldn’t write it – so please don’t try). At 26 and a few years out of college, he remained the center of his parents’ worlds. N-ot in a good way.
His parents were extremely unhappy with each other. They sought, they clung, they competed for his “love” jealously. He greatly valued (and was greatly dependent on) their input regarding big decisions in his life (for eg further education). The advice he got was fraught with politicking and emotional baggage.
It was terrifying. People you love, whose approval you have been raised to need in order to succeed, so caught up in their own little hell they can’t give you a straight answer.
They love you. They have no idea how much damage they’re doing to you. When you try to make your own decisions, they threaten suicide. Yes, really.
Sometimes they didn’t even care if I overheard. Then in my early 20s, I dismissed them as the cast from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Almost a decade later, with a child of my own, it finally occurs to me what normal people they might have been, until a wrong turn brought them eventually to the dark and lonely place from whence they continue to screw up their only child for life.
This could be you. You might not pretend to try killing or hurting yourself to guilt your grown child into taking your advice, but on some (ok, much) smaller scale it could happen to any of us. Emotional apron strings just have the trickiest ties and knots to overcome.
Make your marriage work. Unless in some extenuating circumstance you were drunk out of your mind and married Hannibal in which case get the hell out of there. But don't stay "married," miserable and cruel.
As a Christian I should advocate staying married. Except people who stay "married" may not necessarily also follow the rest of the marriage vows they made before God to love, cherish and respect each other too. Remembering your vows doesn't mean staying just legally married.
When Rockstar was a baby, diapers and colic and sleep deprivation prevented us from seeing it. We just wanted to get through the night. Even as he reminded us we were miserable, miserable human beings.
“WAAAAAaaaaaa- you-can’t-even-stop-little-ole’-me-crying-and-you-call-yourself-a-PARENT? -aaaaaaaaa!!!!”
But he’s not a baby anymore.
(Not quite legal drinking age to sample the produce of these vines either though)
Wanting to do the Absolute Best Job should transcend cultures, geographical locations. Pride. If I really wanted to do the best job I could, I have to able to take good advice from anywhere I can get it. Even if I hate the giver so much I hope they shrivel up and die (but not before I whip out my iPhone so I can watch the repeat whenever I feel like it). Oh, and this might be applicable to most things in life.
“Can I have a coffee,” Kings says. Waiter flinches. We don’t serve coffee. (Because it spoils your taste buds for wine tasting we suppose. Some might say.)
Anyway. We spend long vacations with just each other in various towns/ cities whenever we can, not just to well, be with each other over a glass of wine (or water) in Napa Valley (above), but to look for different points of view. About Parenting. Education. Career. Life.
Each walk of life we meet to look for lessons from probably believes they’ve made the Absolute Best Choices for their kids and life, even as some choices wildly diverge from each other. Trying to find out why should enrich the decisions we make for our own family. We kinda hope, anyway.
Heck, vaccies are kinda fun.
Even as our parents believed they were following the best wisdom of their time in our raising, so too their children believe they owe it to their children to do a better job. Talk about karma.