Saturday, August 18, 2012

To Have an Ordinary Child

The 2012 Summer Olympics marked the first time I watched the games as a parent of two mobile, destructive active children. As such, I noticed different things about the coverage. I noticed the parents. They were there in the
stands going through every emotion of which a human spirit is capable (Notice how I managed to not end in a preposition by sounding like a Bronte sister. It's August, my inner teacher needed some stretching.) as their children achieve (or failed to achieve) feats that took the body and mind to the absolute limit. Really, even though they are spectators, they are the ones who made it happen or at least started their child down the path. They figured out how to maneuver through coaches and money and schedules and school and practices to make sure their child's Olympic dream came true. They had to decide, usually when their child was at very young age, how far they all were willing to go. It is an epic feat of parenting. There should be medals. (See what I did there? Heh.)
Is it wrong that I sort of hope that it is never me?
As a parent, aren't I suppose to want my child to be Olympics (Am I the only one who can never type Olympic correctly the first try?) level extraordinary? Isn't it every parents dream to have their kid achieve such a lofty goal?
It just kind of ties me in knots because I worry about my kids having an extraordinary talent. It can take over lives. It can be the end all and be all of not only that kid's life, but the parent's, siblings', grandparents', third cousins' lives too. Striving to always be the best at something that could potential be humanly impossible is a lot to put on a kid especially when a lot of these athletes start at five or six. (Note: I apply this idea to all talents, music, art, dance, juggling, jousting, etc.)
As the parents, it would be John's and my role to make CJ or Leila find balance if they happen to be in the upper echelon of some active community. While we would be numbing our butts in bleachers and screaming our heads off, we would also have to make sure there was time for school and friends and family and other pursuits. It would be up to us to make sure that if the dream is Olympic gold and that never happens, that life is not over.
That is a lot of pressure on parents on top of the pressure of just being a parent. The pressure of extraordinary reverberates through a person's life, and the first choices on the path are made by the parents. Please, don't think I am disparaging athletes or their parents. On the contrary, I am in some awe of them. But I am scared to be one. I would not let that fear stand in the way if CJ or Leila prove to have the talent and the drive, but that doesn't stop it from existing. It will be there even if I end of being interviewed by Bob Costas.
(The parentheticals were inspired by Megan at Best of Fates, the queen of the parentheticals.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

While We're Away, the Kids Will Get Hurt

Last weekend, John and I went to BlogHer. For those of you unfamiliar with the conference and too lazy to follow the link (I know who you are.), it is an event for lots of bloggers (mostly of the female variety) to get together to drink network and party boarden their blogging opportunities. It was a really amazing time. John and I are attention whores people persons, so it was great to meet friends, old and new, who until Friday and Saturday had only lived in our computers via Facebook, Twitter, and some truly wonderfully written blogs.
On Saturday evening, we were doing some pre-dinner chatting over some drinks in the hotel bar when a text came in from Alex with this picture.

Yes, that's Leila's foot swollen to an alarming size. (Hey, it might not be alarming to you, but it was to her mom.) Alex was asking if she could give her Benedryl. The official party line on Benedryl is that no one under four should even be able to look at the stuff. The unofficial word is that a half dose or so has saved my kids some rough times. So I told Al to do the half dose. She ended up putting some cream on it. By the time we got home on Sunday, the red was gone and the swelling was significantly less. Chances are it was some kind of a bite. She had had something similar around her eye early this summer. The doctor had said keep an eye on it. So, you know, it was not worrisome. I guess.

Now, my sister and my mother did everything I or John would have done for Leila. In no way shape or form would our presence in Carlisle instead of NYC have changed any treatment or conditions. 

Try telling that to my mom guilt heart. I did enjoy myself for the evening over a lovely Italian dinner and too many Asian appetizers, but part of me, more than would have been pre-text message, was trying to parent through my phone; texting questions. Was the foot hot to the touch? Was she favoring it? Did she have a fever? None of which were really constructive, but when your kid is remotely injured or sick, you must know everything. And not being there to find out was painful. While laughing and chatting and watching dogs and bloggers strut down a runway (If you don't know, you don't really need to.) a part of me was calculating the potential cabfare and time back to Will's apartment in Brooklyn (where we stayed) then the drive home if any of the answers my mom or sister were sending me proved too vexing. Maybe hopping a train would be quicker?

Essentially, the point  of the post is, parental love is not logical thus should not be trusted to respond reasonably even if the said parent appears to be acting reasonably. You may find this knowledge useful at some point if you end up dealing with a parent in such a state.