I have these lofty goals about being like my mom. Don’t get me wrong, I fought with her probably from the time I turned 12 all the way through 18. But once I got out of the house I was able to see my mom as an actual person (instead of the imagined oppressor I had previously made her out to be in my mind), and see exactly how much she has always done for me. Now that I have a child I constantly struggle in terms of how to manage a career, being a wife, mothering, and keeping my house from looking like the 4 pets and a family of wild animals live here, and also having friends…. All of these are things I think my mom managed to not only do, but do well! But back to the point of the story- culture.
We recently had the opportunity to go see Beautiful at the Pantages theater. Despite the fact I had laundry to fold, suitcases to pack, rugs to vacuum, and an inflatable pool to deflate- we made time for it. JL stayed home with a sitter because a show starting at 8 would have meant that I had a good 2 hours of meltdown BEFORE the event, and did I mention that you can’t have wine while you watch the show? But it’s always good to get a date night with the hubby when we can, so we did. My husband has been to approximately 2 plays in his life. Both were with me. Both were musicals. And as he and I swap stories about how we grew up, we remember that one of the reasons we get along so well is that we both are open minded to the others background. He didn’t go to musicals and spend weekends watching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers with his cousins and practicing the choreography for an imagined audience, and I didn’t spend weekends going up to the camp with my family fishing and attending festivals. Different backgrounds, different people. Now I ask him every so often to take me up to the camp when we go back to visit his family so I can have a taste of something we never did, and he in turn- sits through and enjoys musicals as a normal person would, while I rock out like I’ve never left the house before.
But it all got me thinking about my childhood and how I grew up getting to go to musicals with my parents. How I felt so cool to get to stay up late on a school night and go out with mom and dad to see a show. Nevermind that sometimes jokes were over my head, or sometimes I needed a disco nap during the show… I was there. And it’s an experience I hope to someday be able to share with JL. On the drive home I mentioned this to my husband and he didn’t disagree. He wants to be able to share the things he grew up with with him too… But how do we find the balance? How do we find the time?
We have to make time. There are so many things thrown at kids today. Most toys at the store light up, sing, dance, and have annoying songs that get stuck in your head (lookin’ at you V-Tech Remote control with “1,2,3,4,5 so many fun channels to waaaaatch liiiiiiive”), and kids have tablets, iPads, cell phones etc all thrust at them to keep them quiet, or calm them down for a few minutes. We’re all so busy that it’s only natural to want a few moments of quiet to ourselves. But while I could have easily stayed home and folded laundry and packed for a trip I should be packing for now, it was great to get out. To not have my phone on me (okay yes I checked in with the sitter during intermission, but only because JL is getting molars!), and to simply enjoy some Carole King music and be with my family. Because my parents did that I have these amazing memories I want to share with JL. Because his parents did it with him, my husband has the same goals for JL. And I think despite all the reasons we have to not, or maybe later it- in the end you’ll be glad you did.
So whatever special thing you shared with your parents, maybe it’s time to start thinking about sharing it with your kids… After all, you’re the parent now.