today, we’ll take our attention off the storm outside and look at the storm inside. i don’t mean my inner workings, but things family.

specifically, teenagers. i’m fortunate: two of these creatures call me papa, roam around, poke their fingers in stuff and generally mess up the place. it’s easy to track them down if you want - follow the hansel and gretel trail of things that come out of the back pack, assorted food droppings and pieces of clothes. you’ll arrive at the bedroom. you’re probably not welcome but before entering, ask yourself, ‘how strong is my heart, are my eyes firmly in their socket and what’s that smell.”

kids aren’t bad; but i think they’re genetically bound to annoy, confound and panic parents. i did this to my parents. having kids, watching them grow and change is a wonder. it gives you the chance to do everything right, not like your parents. you truly believe this, you’re as naïve as that baby with the nub of an umbilical cord.

children don’t come with instructions, directions or a compass. they just arrive, it’s a bit more complicated for the mother. and then you just start making up stuff that seems so smart. it’s a utopia of cute, bathtub bubbles and finger painting. there’s the odd foul odor, but the perfect parent, smiling, gets those diapers changed. you’re cocky - child rearing is child’s play.

what parents don’t know is that each meal your kid eats, each book you read to them, each wiggle to the wiggles are steps to your child becoming a person. somewhere between 12 and 14, your utopia will gradually erode. when the dust begins to settle, you’ll look at this person, get up, shake hands and introduce yourself.  because you don’t think you know who that person, with all the wires and widgets, is.

in fact, you don’t. i don’t. my children once believed any answer i concocted; now they challenge any answer i have. they believed i rode a dinosaur to school. they believed the 5$ bill sir wilfred laurier was their grandfather. believed i could pull my finger off and put it back on.

those children were easy to fool; now they’re gone. they’ve developed a singular personality – and it’s not yours. there will be some edges and sounds that make you wonder what the hell are they being taught at school. they will gather in squads if you leave your door open, make a lot of noise and pretend you’re not there. or they’ll all stare at you, arms folded, head cocked to the same side, eyes disdainful and you’ll know it’s time to retreat. ask about terms of peace later.

well, young parents, parents to be and those who think a kid might be fun, if you reach this point, you have the opportunity and challenge to know and love this other person. i congratulate you. this is success. you’ve brought another thinking, questioning, sometimes unhappy, sometimes giddy and perpetually moving forward, person into the world.

this is where i find myself. advice? sit back, keep notes and hope the house they construct on the foundation you built is wonderful. and if everything seems upside, it is. now i’m the one with all the questions, believing most answers because these people are really convinced they’re right. this new dystopia is like joining an exclusive club and getting the scoop from someone who knows what’s really going on.

you’re lucky if this person calls you on inane things at your job, is outraged by injustice and violence they can’t comprehend and has their world blown to pieces when they learn the big bang theory isn’t just a tv show. if you’re careful, they’ll take you along for their ride.

one day, i’ve heard, the ride will end. your kids’ path will have new corners and hills. they will follow that road. to where ever it takes them. and they will go on their own. that’s when, i think, the dystopia of growth and maturity is something i’ll miss very much.

see ya, jack (hank’s still m.i.a.)


 


P.
11/09/2011 11:31am

I really like this blog entry.

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