I was a pretty intense parent, I know that. I took the job seriously (maybe too seriously at times from your perspective). And I know that you and I have different language to express my parenting style: You say strict, I say attentive; you say enabler, I say unfailingly supportive; you say nosy, I say involved; you say unreasonable, I say wise. But let's not quibble over semantics.
I know, too, that some of you (maybe all of you at one time or another) think that parenting has been nothing but misery, trouble, and heartache for me. There were times…plenty of times…when it was all of the above. I cried more than you know. I felt like giving up sometimes. And hard work? Seriously, birthing you—breeched, too early, really late—was a day at the beach compared to raising you.
But I digress. Here’s what I want you to know. I would absolutely do it all again in a heartbeat.
All the mistakes you fret over, feel guilty about, regret—they’re now some of the best stories in the Big Book of my life...
- Like the time you locked yourself in the trophy case in the high school hallway.
- Like the time I had to pick you up at the senior dance, where I found you half-crocked, in the principal’s face, debating the unreliability and inadequate testing of the school’s new breathalyzer.
- Like the times we had to rendezvous in restaurant parking lots, like kidnappers, to pick you up from the other parent.
- Like the time you were arrested. Or that other time you were arrested. Or that one other time. Or those other two times.
- Like the time they took you to jail at 3 a.m. for “operating a suspicious skateboard.”
- Like the time I had to haul you out of some boy’s house at 1 a.m.
- Like the time when you were 4 and you called the neighbor boy “asshole” with his mother standing in our living room.
- Like the time you hid behind a chair and cut all your sister’s hair off.
- Like the time you called from Boulder to say you were living in your car. In January.
- Like the time I had to help you move and clean up a trashed bachelor[ette] pad. Or the other time. Or the two other times.
THIS is what I think about, and I think about it EVERY day: How incredibly grateful, proud, full of love, amazed & in awe I am to witness the generous, intelligent, independent, compassionate, fiercely loyal, creative, gentle people you’ve all become.
You are all angels to me, though definately not the fluffy, wish-granting, TV sitcom kind. You are the fierce, unfathomable creatures of wisdom & light kind. So this Thanksgiving, the thing I am MOST thankful for is that in the cosmic, universal scheme of parents & children, we chose each other.