On a side note, another innocuous change in me as a parent as I’ve grown older is found in my lunch offerings for my fourth child, our bonus baby. Yesterday, she had samosas (a fried slightly spicy meat pie that is the food of heaven) and marshmallows for lunch. I was tempted to feel “parent shame” until my oldest son (who I had messaged her menu to) said, “It’s ok. Let her enjoy life.”
Still, it remains in my mind some days later, the picture of the children’s shoes outside the front door of the house on a warm Sunday afternoon. I can feel the warm breeze blowing through the front door, hear the weeping of children, and feel the sting of death – and there was my little girl in the middle taking part in the “ministry of presence.”
My parents were “old school.”
Go to bed on time.
Do your homework.
No TV until homework was done.
Clean the house on Saturdays.
Eat what was set before you, every last bite.
We had to make sure we did everything we were told in its entirety. If our chores were “half baked,” that was considered to be worse than not having done anything at all.
Dad stood at the tops and bottoms of the hills, yelling instructions, and gritting his teeth as I fell. I shut a lot of what he said out as I tumbled and stumbled my way around. Those first months of learning how to ski were pretty tough; I spent more time on my knees in the snow than I did standing on the skis. Instead of anticipating going down the hills, I was afraid, afraid of the spills but too embarrassed to admit I was wrong, at least for a while.