Have you ever made your parents cry?
My mother was constantly at wit’s end with my antics, my trespasses (sometimes literally) and my disobedience. Sure, I got the crap beaten out of me fairly regularly, and I didn’t enjoy that, but I saw it as the cost of living as I chose to, doing the things that I wanted to do.
This is a topic for a whole other post, but the important thing is that while I occasionally feared for my life (insofar as a seven year old can understand that concept of permanent and unalterable death at the hands of your irate mother), I never really thought that anything would get any worse, so I kept going, leading to the tears that I’m so keen to talk about. My daughters made me cry today.
Even as a child I thought the crying was an emotional blackmail to get me to act a certain way. Their way. Oh, sure, I’d console her, and promise things I never had the intention of carrying through, like cleaning up my room, or no longer destroying the neighbor’s handwashing with thrown mud from the river… you know…
As a parent now, I got a chill as I realised that perhaps, as in my case today, the tears come instead from a profound disappointment. A disappointment that is both disarming and relentless because of the obvious realisation that their behaviour is my fault. Nurtured by me and encouraged by me every step of the way. I was the parent in this relationship, and could have, should have, been a better disciplinarian in the home, meting out punishments until behaviour was corrected. In that I failed. I somehow, despite my best intentions, failed as a parent.
The children I’ve raised are much like I was: overly intelligent, bored with everything within minutes of getting it, idle, and without purpose.
Quite aside from the normal trials and tribulations of any family(“Clean up your room“, “Put your clothes in the hamper, not on the floor“) my eldest daughter does not do anything unless somehow, sometimes harshly, induced to do it. Nothing picked up, nothing cleaned up, nothing done unless cajoled, begged or threatened into it. In the carrying your own weight category, the Canadian children I’ve met and most adults, mine included can’t hold a candle to the average 7 year old for any developing country. DO SOMETHING! ANYTHING!!!
Today being a single dad sucked. Overwhelmed by a lack of sleep, my beautiful heirloom baby grand piano destroyed by the incompetent movers, working two jobs, 16 hour work day, and coming home to find not one thing put away from the moving boxes and bags, not one item cleaned up, not a finger lifted to do anything. I couldn’t take it anymore.
Oh. That’s not true. The video games are out and connected.
They have received the very last video games from me.
Things are going to have to change. It may be hard on them. I know for a fact it will be hard on me…
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