13 March 2012

silent spring

When I was a freshman in college I read Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring. What I am about to tell you has nothing to do with her book.

Loyalty and justice walk hand in hand in my small mind's eye. I think of them as best friends who coexist happily sharing their shovel and pail in the sandbox of life. A life that is never clouded and always perfect. That life does not exist outside my fairy tale. I tell myself this. I speak it to my children. So why am I surprised when there is a splinter in my fantasy?

In the real world people are not always loyal and decisions are not always just. No one feels this more than a parent. The depravity of man is cradled in the nursery, my friend. And he grows into a man who will say and speak and act in ways that are vicious and furious. I speak in metaphors, but I dare say I know a few literal examples. 

Yesterday was not a good day. It was a day wrought with sin and bad decision making and ill tempers and too many Izze sodas. It went something like this:

I rose at 4.30. By the time the first child woke at 7 am I had worked out, been to the supermarket, washed two loads of laundry, cleaned two vacuum cleaners and NOT sat to pray, think, breath or read. By 1:00 I was passed out on the sofa-literally. The oldest had to check his own math whilst the 10 year old made himself and his brothers lunch. Then there was guitar lessons, a quick trip to Costco and soccer practice. 

By the time we arrived home at 8 pm, it felt as if we had walked into a den of demons. The 8 year old was inconsolable because two of the older neighborhood boys had taken his Nerf gun, teasing him and had returned his newly self-purchased treasure minus two darts. His older brother incited a riot when he said, "I am still their friends." The oldest boy left the laundry detergent open on a vibrating washing machine where the full bottle of liquid gyrated off the machine and spilled {for the 3rd time} leaving a sticky film on the floor that nearly cost me my sure footing. The youngest decided to forgo his shower for an extra play time in the caverns of the basement which did not end well for him. 

If I have said it once in my almost 13 years of parenting, I have said it 2.1 billion times, "If you do not listen to me, things will not go well with you!!!" Sometimes I mean it spiritually. Sometimes I mean it physically as in "You will physically feel the consequences of your disobedience". And guess what? They do not always listen. And things don't go well. Little boys get disciplined. Big boys get lectured on soap caps. Middle boys get a tongue.wagging. on loyalty to brothers FIRST. "You are your brother's keeper." If I have said it once, I have "mentioned" it 3.1 billion times. 

If I have a proverbial line in the sand, it is disloyalty. I can take a lot of things, but come hell or HELL I will not allow for disloyalty in my household. It comes from my childhood and has no place in my adulthood. It is my trigger. It is my gun. Sometimes I miss the proverbial forest for the trees when I get on my hurtful soap box and demand my children sojourn down my painful past to reckon with their juvenile presents. 

But isn't that what parenting is? Not wishing for your children to know the pain you have experienced-only to inflict something as painful? O, the irony is staggering even as I write. I hate that which I love. My fury for injustice often comes out as just plain fury. Deafening and defeating. They can't hear the message because the messenger is a raving lunatic. Then they miss the forest for the tree, their crazy mother who is standing on a chair waving her arms furiously because she is so furious that one of them forgot to be kind? Perhaps this is what soothsayer meant when he warned Caesar, "beware the ides of march". And perhaps I should consider the insidious nature of my own environmental pesticides and the ramifications they take on my own landscape and that of the gardens that I tend. 

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