Thursday, July 14, 2011

parenthood: it's even better than the pamphlet said it would be

This week:

One of our children dropped my beautiful Nikon camera on asphalt. They didn't tell me that this had happened. No, I discovered it when I picked the camera up to take a photo of a box turtle that was migrating across our back yard and the lens fell off. I tried to re-attach the lens, to no avail, and then noticed that the shutter had a convulsion whenever I tried to snap a photo. I was completely perplexed as to what might have happened, when the child that dropped the camera asked, "Mom, do you promise not to get angry if I tell you the truth?"

It was very hard to keep my promise. Especially when I found out that the estimated cost to repair the camera is $300.00.

This week:

One of our OTHER children was jumping on our bed. This is a no-no, because who is familiar with what happens to little monkeys jumping on the bed? Alas, I didn't know that they were jumping on the bed - because try as I might, there may be a 60-second window of time during the course of the day when my eyes are not fixated UPON them. And wouldn't you know, our children capitalize upon that brief supervisory reprieve to swing like Tarzan on the pull-chain of the newly installed ceiling fan.

AS IT TURNS OUT, a small chain doesn't adequately support 45 pounds worth of child. So, the chain snapped and effectively broke the light component of the fan. Cost to repair the newly installed ceiling fan? $100.00 plus at least an hour, possibly two, of Charlie's time.

Who am I kidding?

It will take at least four hours by the time he picks up the part, a month later realizes it's the wrong part, gets the correct part, loses the correct part and OK, so maybe next year at this time, we'll once again have a fully functional light again.

Of course, if *I* took the incentive to learn how to do this type of repair work myself, we'd need to add two years to the estimated time of completion; and then approximately $200.00 to cover the cost of a handyman, because I have NO idea what I'm doing.

This week:

I noticed that the newly installed closet door in the boys' room wouldn't close properly. Upon closer investigation, I recognized that the entire track was bent. WHAT HAPPENED HERE? I asked, aloud. Charlie came running to inspect and as he did, our son very sheepishly admitted that he was practicing his karate kicks.

ON HIS BRAND NEW CLOSET DOOR.

Estimated cost to repair?

I'll know tomorrow when we receive the quote. But I fully expect there will be at least three significant figures; BEFORE the decimal.

This week:

One of my favorite "recovery" past-times has become putting together puzzles and then, having them framed. As a result of this new hobby, our basement is slowly being transformed in to a gallery of various puzzles. This past weekend, I opened a 1,000-piece puzzle of historic Virginia and began to put it together, with the help of our older children, while seated around our dining room table. It was idyllic.

After spending approximately 20 collective hours working on this puzzle, yesterday, when we had completed at least 900 pieces and were roughly 100 pieces from being finished, I took a very short break to help one of our children blow dry their recently washed hair.

As I stood, waving a blow dryer, my husband appeared in the doorway and said, "Jen, promise me you won't freak out." After I promised 10 times (he obviously didn't believe me), he proceeded to tell me that our youngest son had decided to move our almost-completed 1,000 piece puzzle to 1,000 individual pieces ... ALL OVER THE FLOOR.

Freaking out had been removed from the menu. So as I stood with steam coming OUT OF MY EARS, our older children demonstrated their proficiency with role reversal when they tried to console me by saying, "Mom, it's OK! We'll totally help and just think about how FAST we can put it together, the second time!"

This week:

Each of our children have brought a flower that they had carefully selected especially for me. "Flower" might be too strong of a word because sometimes, what they present - with loving eyes and hands - is no more than a dandelion or less colorful weed.

But quite frankly, it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

Our son picked me a flower when he was out for a walk with his father, at least a mile from our house. Despite the distance that he had to travel, he protected that flower with all of his might until he could get home and give it to me, with the most love and adoration I've ever witnessed. As he did so he said, "Mom, you are the best thing to ever happen to me."

You know, it's a very curious thing, because whatever our children have done ... or dare I say, will do ... is immediately forgiven after such a thoughtful gesture.

May I always remember this sweetness...

DSC_0401

May I also always remember that children, despite their craze-inducing ways, are incredibly awesome little spirits. More and more, I am convinced that a child's ability to melt hearts is not only what ensures their survival but is also what endears a parent to them for life.

I'd always heard that there's a cost for raising children. Some costs - like shoes, clothing and food - are expected. But there are other costs: the unexpected costs of a new Nikon camera, ceiling fan, closet door, insert ANY item here ... and the hours upon hours of time spent creating, building or repairing. But in return, we are given something, in surplus, that money could never buy.

Being a parent is truly the best thing to ever happen to me.

It's very important our children always know that.

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  13. MichelleMinTX7/28/11, 10:03 AM

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