What will your children remember about you when you’re gone?
While most parents may not spend much time thinking about that, I actually think about that a lot!
I probably think about that too much! Maybe I even obsess about it. Because sometimes it seems that I am growing older faster than they are growing up!
In my previous post, Lucky and Blessed, I expressed the blessing of raising children the second time around. This post is a follow-up and, perhaps, illustrates the dark side of being an older parent.
Most parents are young adults when they have children. They expect to live long enough to watch their children grow up, graduate, start a career, get married, and have families of their own. And, they certainly don’t recognize their mortality as much as an older adult does.
But, my second-time-around parenthood is being performed nearer the end of my life than the beginning or middle. You might say, I’m parenting from the end!
As I get closer to the end of my working life (though retirement is still a few years away), I sometimes look back over my career and try to examine if I have been successful or not.
While I like to believe that during my career I have achieved many successes for my respective employers, there have certainly been some setbacks along the way (I can’t hardly bring myself to label them as failures!).
I used to keep a plaque on the wall of my office that said “Never, Never, Never, Never Give Up!” When there have been setbacks/failures, I have often been able to turn them into successes not necessarily because of my great management or leadership skills but because I seem to possess a good amount of persistence.
In other words, what I lacked in leadership ability, I made up for in doggedness!
“I can’t get no satisfaction–Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Cause I try and I try and I try and I try”
When you think of being satisfied, you probably envision something like the feeling after eating a good meal, a fun or relaxing activity, listening to music you enjoy, the sound of ocean waves crashing on the beach or maybe even a accomplishing a goal.
You probably don’t associate a feeling of satisfaction with popping bubble-wrap bubbles, cutting paper with scissors, the sensation of magnetic attraction (or resistance), or the clicking sound made by pressing the keys on a computer keyboard or clicking a mouse.
But the kids do! The sensations produced by these simple experiences and many others seem to fire off dopamine-releasing neurons in their kinesthetic brains. So, they call it “satisfying.”
Parents love to give gifts to their kids at Christmas. Each Christmas season we spend a lot of time and money selecting gifts that will make our children happy. While there is a lot of joy in all this parental gift-giving, there is an element of it that makes me quite frustrated.
While the pre-Christmas gift-buying can be stressful, it’s what happens after all the Christmas presents are opened that can be the most agitating to me.
You might recall in Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, The Ghost of Christmas Present appears to Ebeneezer Scrooge and shows him how other people, particularly Scrooge’s nephew and Scrooge’s exploited clerk Bob Cratchit, celebrate Christmas. During its appearance the spirit noticeably ages and reveals to Scrooge that he will only exist on Earth for a very brief time, which is implied to be that single Christmas holiday.
Dicken’s Ghost of Christmas Present provides a befitting commentary of the exasperating problem I confront each Christmas season–Christmas presents that get broken often before Christmas Day is over!
Yes, the remains of these broken toys laying by the Christmas tree in pieces or in silence are the ghosts of Christmas presents.
I was sound asleep in bed one night recently when my somnolent self suddenly sensed something standing by my bed.
My eyes jolted open and standing there right in front of my face was a dark figure–admittedly, a small dark figure or was it a small figure in the dark.
Nevertheless, it scared me awake so much so that I shot up in bed and let out a muffled yelp, “WHO’S THERE???”
Then, I heard Kenzie whisper, “Dad, I just threw up!”
My frightened yell suddenly turned into an agitated grumble. “Why did you sneak up on me like that?” I demanded.
“I didn’t want to scare you,” she explained.