I love this show. They keep it real. And in the end…….there’s always love.
A friend recently asked me for parenting advice. Ahhh, parenting. The joy. The heartbreak. The wonder of it all.
I became a mother at the ripe old age of 24. Relatively young by today’s standards. I can remember taking Daughter #1 in a stroller to the mall to get the second hole pierced in my ears. Don’t judge, people. It was the 80’s. If you must know, I had big hair, MC Hammer pants and shoulder pads. And I rocked it like nobody’s business. But I digress….
The “10 year old” working at the ear-piercing kiosk asked me if I had a permission note from my parents to get the piercing! I was mortified! Couldn’t she see how very grown up I was? I quickly explained that I was WELL over the age of 18. I had been married for MANY years and was the MOTHER of the BABY in the stroller. (Little did I know then that I should have been grateful. That one day I would be crying in the parking lot of Ross Dress for Less because some stupid twit mistook me for a SENIOR CITIZEN and gave me a 10% discount!) But again….I digress. My apologies.
The point I’m trying to make is that I was young, clueless and fearless as a young mother. I did not read “What to Expect When You are Expecting.” (in part because it hadn’t been written yet) I had not yet begun to watch Oprah, Dr. Phil and Jerry Springer. For the record, I don’t watch any of the afore-mentioned programs but you get the idea. I didn’t turn to the “experts” I leaned on common sense. If it was hungry, I fed it. If it smelled, I changed it. If it cried, I held it. If it cried all day long, I threw it at its father the second he walked in the door and went to the shower to cry for 30 minutes. I had also yet to discover the benefits of a good glass of red wine.
As the girls got older, the mommy gig got a little more complicated but they’ve turned out pretty well. No worse for the wear, my mother would say. The secret of good parenting is realizing that it is really just a crap-shoot. Look around. There are parents who read all the books (…..even the best one…..the Bible), take classes, make no mistakes and the kid still ends up in juvie. Some of us make all the mistakes and the kids thrive despite our best efforts to screw them up. Go figure.
When it’s all said and done, we all do the best we can. We love them in our own language. One of my favorite movies is The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a booze-soaked child-beater. The movie just spoke to me. The characters made really bad choices at times but it was what they knew. It was a different time. They did the best they could (OK, maybe that’s not entirely true but they tried) and in the end, there was no judgment. Just love. That’s what I hope for.
That one day, my kids will look back at where I’ve screwed up and say, “But we KNOW that she LOVED us.”