Thursday, May 28

Here's What I'm Writing Instead

I am not one to miss a message, even if I have been known to live on a rural route with no regular mail delivery, so the messages sometimes don't quite make it to me in the time you might think they should.  It's a metaphor.  Get it?

It's been pointed out to me that I have been absent from blogging for a few days now. I guess that's good (not the missing, but the reminder).   Not that I didn't know or anything, but it's nice to be missed, even when being missed is not a conscious strategy, but a natural outgrowth of being a person.

It's also been pointed out to me that [insert buzzer sound here] I have not, in fact, won the big (nonexistent) prize that comes as a result of completing the nablopomo challenge of writing every day for a month.  Ouch.

So, it seems time to answer the question....where have I been?  Well, like most things around these parts, there's a short answer and a long answer.  And I bet you know that I'm going to give you both of them.  That's good.  You're catching on.

The short answer is boring.  Short answers are always boring--if you're one who loves story, that is.  

The short answer is that when I'm busy picking up and rinsing off all of the Especially Delicious Cantaloupe pieces from the sink after I spilled them out accidentally when I was trying to pour off the excess liquid from the bottom of the tall recyclable plastic container because I don't like mushy cantaloupe, I just don't have much time to think about blogging.  Well, that's not quite true.  I have plenty of time to think about it.  Just not much time to do it (not to mention the assumed risk of a sticky keyboard).  

As long as we're in the neighborhood, let me also say that falling asleep with my face on the keyboard also doesn't so much make for the best blogging, or so I've found, anyway.  It doesn't make for particularly good sleeping either, come to think of it, though it does if you put the computer away and go to bed.  A fine idea, though not one that comes with prizes.

The longer answer is the one that is about messages, about listening to the signs and symbols and messages that may be sent to us by our friendly neighborhood universe, open 24 hours.  Dammit.

The story begins with one of the perils of parenthood, namely the illusion that our children are somehow going to be like us.  And it ends with a year's worth of dog food.  Don't worry.  You'll get it.

Let's see.  How to explain this in the least damning way possible.

When I was a kid, I was an overachiever.  I'm not an overachiever anymore, which explains why I repeatedly sign up for a challenge where absolute perfection is the sole route to success.  I was also a bit of a goody-two-shoes, a teacher's pet, a bit of a nerdy smart kid, compliant, a target for get the idea.  I loved school, my teachers loved me, and I got straight A's.  In elementary school, anyway.  High school?  Not so much.  And college?  Let's not talk about college.  But in first, second, third grade, I was golden.

I have a kid who is, well, not so much that way.  And as ashamed as it makes me to say it, I just don't get it.  Why would anyone want to argue with teachers?  Why would anyone want to sabotage assignments?  How could recess be my kid's favorite part of school, when book reports are so cool?  Why isn't a visit to the office horrifying?

As you might imagine, this has led to its share of conflicts.  Okay, let's just call them meltdowns.  For me, not as much for her.  And what does she say to me in those moments?  "I can't be perfect in school!  Nobody's perfect!" (why yes, as a matter of fact, I have been accused of having rather high standards a few times in my life--how did you know?)  And there I stand, trying to be the understanding parent, when in my head, I'm thinking "Why not?  I was!"  (you can stop laughing now). 

Oh my god.  I can not believe I am saying this "out loud".  True confessions stink.

And so here I am, tonight, thinking about Nablopomo.  And failure (whatever that is). I'm thinking about why I signed up for it for three months running now, whether I will sign up again in June (probably), what it does and has done for me in regard to blogging (a lot), what I know about the role of coaches in my life, and about the notion that some people need a little external stimulus and that's not necessarily a bad thing.  But most of all, I'm thinking that any system that is set up such that anything short of 100% is failure is just ridiculous, not to mention unrealistic.

I may have gotten all A's, but I didn't score 100% on everything.  Nobody's perfect.

Come to think of it, there was that one visit to the principal's office.  I got caught leaning back in the lunchroom (remember linking your feet under the railing on the metal foldout lunch tables and leaning back and trying to touch your head to the floor?)   

Yes.  For one brief shining moment, I was a hooligan. You wanna make something of it?

Oh, yeah.  The dog food.  It's the lovely parting gift.  

Thanks for playing.  

1 comment:

Anna said...

I wanted my oldest to do well in school because, well...I didn't. Until I went to college. She couldn't have cared less. She left school as soon as she could, which still makes me crazy - the bare minimum, for me, is a high school diploma. But I have learned, reluctantly, to accept that she is who she is. Not everyone is a scholar - but she brings her own piece of light to the universe.