This post was borne from a conversation a co-worker and I had begun Friday. Both of us have firstborn sons who have provided their mothers with a challenge or three. I won’t violate her trust–this is MY confessional after all–so I won’t detail her concerns. Y’all know what mine are, so I feel OK continuing to stand firm in my belief that this parenting gig is not for the weak, and sharing my colleague’s and my shared opinion that platitudes are bullshit.
Here are three things I’m completely open to and appreciative of hearing:
- “I’ll pray for you, or I’m thinking of you.” Thank you. I don’t think that God, in whatever form he/she takes for someone, plays favorites. When professional athletes point to the skies after catching the game-winning TD pass, or kiss the medallions around their necks after going yard to straightaway center in the bottom of the ninth, I just really don’t think that’s a divine intervention. I think a god would have better shit to do than cozy up with a bowl of nachos on Superbowl Sunday. BUT I do know that many, many terrific people believe in the power of prayer, and that it works wonders for them. I appreciate that they think enough of me to insert my little life into their conversations with their big guy. I have become a broken record of sorts saying to people, “Whatever it is you do to send good wishes to the world, I appreciate them.” I do. Sincerely and tremendously. Prayer, meditation, intention, good chi, healing energy? That all equals love to me, and I’m so lucky to be so loved. And it occurs to me that I’m also lucky to know so many people from such diverse paths of life (see above for chi, prayer, healing energy, intentions and meditation).
- “I don’t even know what to say.” Me neither, really. How ’bout we hang and just be? I’d like that.
- “How are you doing?” Depends on the time of day and day of the week. If other things (read: normal daily life) are less than smooth sailing, I’m less well. Mostly, I’m fine. I have to be; I’m the mom.
Here are three things I’d love never to hear again. For even though intentions and motives are usually pure, these platitudes and like types of comments force me to skid off to the shoulder of the road.
- “He’ll still be the same kid.” Actually he won’t. None of us should aspire to be anything less than we were yesterday. Every day for him is the best day of his life neurologically; this is implicit in the “progressive” designation, and it is a cruel truth. But will he still be the child I dreamed for and whose heart and soul I love to the ends of the earth? Yeah.
- “You should _____ while he still can.” Really?? F-you. Don’t tell me that he should hop the rails to Glacier National Park or backpack across Italy or summit fucking Everest while he still can.
- “So does that mean he’s going to have to live with you guys forever?”
The irony and idiocy of my feeling stung by any of these statements is that I have thought them myself. It’s like when someone dares to talk smack about your family–it’s OK for you to think/say it, but you are not going to allow some outsider to!