Thursday, August 30, 2012

Think Outside The Box (And The Boxes Of Others)

I have this ‘friend’ named Sharri-Dee.  She’s got a younger sister, Penny, and an older brother named… um… Scott.

Sharri-Dee, Scott & Penny
Like any older sibling, Scott was really the one to break in their Mom & Dad.  He was the first to get in trouble at school, first to get his driver’s license, and first to have a keg party at home while his parents were away.  (Actually, Sharri-Dee may have had that distinct honor, but whatever.)  In most cases, the girls were lucky enough to follow in the footsteps of the parental guidelines Scott had already hammered out.

For example, when Scott was a senior in high school, he got his parents to graciously pony up the security deposit for an unchaperoned ski weekend in Vermont for several friends, many of whom had a vajay-jay. Mom even let Scott use her SUV for the weekend to help ensure everyone’s safety.  You know, just your typical Hallmark Channel Sunday Night Movie kind of stuff...

Obviously Sharri-Dee (let’s just call her SD) anxiously awaited the winter weekend of her own final year.  Every event seemed a rite of passage, and with good reason, especially when the Hallmark Channel was involved.

So, I’m sure you can imagine SD’s pure shock when her Mother revealed that the standards set by Scott wouldn’t be the norm moving forward.  In fact, there would be no un-chaperoned ski outing at all.

Hold up.  Sharri-Dee’s grades were better.  She rarely got in trouble and though her dreams of early acceptance to college weren’t fulfilled, she knew that come fall she would be at an above-average university.  What else could a parent ask for?!  Over and over again, she asked ‘why’, like only a three year old could.  Why, why, why.  Until finally, she got her answer.

“Because Scott can’t get PREGNANT, that’s why!” Mom shouted as though the weight of a million whys had simultaneously been lifted off her shoulders.  Unfortunately, their heaviness moved directly onto Sharri-Dee’s heart- and their damage remains to this day.

I learned in a college psych class that we cannot be completely healthy adults until we deal with each of our unresolved issues from childhood and adolescence.  Honestly, that is an enormous buzz kill.  Here’s why.  (Yes, Sharri-Dee asks why a lot.)

Just last night Emilia and Isla were coloring before bedtime.  One stole a page that the other wanted to color, and you’d have thought that Khloe slept with Kanye for all the hell that broke loose.

Ninety seconds later, they were back to coloring as if nothing had happened.  I am so thankful for the ease with which my kids can be so beautifully distracted, but fearful of the day they can be no longer. 

I want to spend more time coloring than arguing.  And I want their memories to be of all that I gave them, not of the few things I did not, no matter what the reason.  (Unless, of course, my reason is sexist, in which case I want them to remember my weakness and learn from it.) 

And I know Sharri-Dee feels the very same way.