I can neglect my novel for weeks at a time and not go to jail. I can edit what my novel says. And I can be reasonably confident that other books on the shelf are not going to push my novel off the shelf to its death.
No matter how complicated a novel is, it can’t match the complications of raising a baby all the way to adulthood.
Maybe, however, parenting is easy for you.
So, this evening my son decided to spend the last of his birthday gift certificate at a local toy store. Fine with me. He’s 8, by the way. And after a couple years of looking at things in the dollhouse section, he decided to spend his money on a table and chairs and some dishes for a dollhouse he hopes to get in the future. He is fascinated by all those tiny bits of furniture.
He asked me what I thought of these things, and I told him I thought they were cool. Which I do. I liked them when I was his age as well.
Now I support my son in whatever his passions are (You want to have 60 snails race up our front door? Well, okay… You want to spend all day Saturday testing origami boats in buckets of water? Sure…) and if he wants a dollhouse and we can afford it and he’s willing to put his allowance towards it and it won’t get in the way of the dogs, then that’s fine by me.
But I don’t live in Perfectlandia, and I know that it is entirely possible that one of his friends might come over and say something…less than cool. Will he stand up for himself or shove these things out of sight, feelings hurt and money wasted?
Everything I know about him and I can’t answer that question. I want him to like what he wants to like and not be hurt–even though plenty of times in life it feels impossible to do either. But for now he and I share a work space, and we can put these things on a shelf and say they are mine if we need to.
Which may well be teaching him to lie and to hide himself.
My mother used to say–in certain situations–“Tell them your mother did it” or “You can tell them it is your mother’s idea” or “Put the blame on me if that will help.” She meant it sincerely, though I only took her up on that once… “My mother won’t let me.”
“Oh, moms! That’s too bad,” came the reply. But I was off the hook.
It is hard in this day and age when we say we want our children to be themselves and to be happy, but we also know how hard a path that can be.
Well, I think it is hard. I could be wrong.
Do you find it easy?