Screw it, let’s get ice cream

She didn’t want to go to school. She was tired. She cried and she cried. “I don’t want to go to school,” she said.

“I’m tired.”

And so then there it was. The doubt. The unending problem of the parent, wherein we’re saddled with thoughts of ineffectiveness, when we question our abilities as parents, when we look back at each issue and think “At which exact point did we completely lose our handle on our child?”

Last night, it was probably when, after dinner, I threw back the covers of logic and decided, yes, we need to extend bedtime and, yes, we need to get frozen yogurt and, yes, we understand this will cause our kids to turn into whirling dirvishes, unable to sleep. Unable to close their eyes, or even comprehend the concept of bedtime.

We did it. We got home. We yelled a little because they weren’t listening, and we got frustrated and scowled at each other as we tried to be PARENTS and then slumped into chairs, still cursing the yogurt.

Everything we do is dedicated to helping them grow up.

And so with everything we do, we wonder which thing will break them.

We teach them to go to bed on time and not be upset if we get frustrated and eat your dinner please because we worked hard on that and oh, god, why are you getting down from the table? We let our dark sides come out, and we feel awful about it, and this is because we, as parents, understand how each nugget of time can persevere for years; how every lesson can either be learned or not, and when they’re learned they become Laws and Laws cannot be broken, even if all we want to do by that point is break the Law and get things back to the way they were before.

The pressure is always there. Be a perfect parent. Don’t let your kids down. Never do what is easy; always do what is right.

We try. Every day. We’re doing all right.

But there are days when all we can do is say, “Ah, screw it.”

“Let’s get ice cream.”

It’s absolutely necessary. Then: we start all over again.

This was lovingly handwritten on September 21st, 2011