Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Scenes from a life

Before I became a parent, back when I wanted desperately to be a parent, I would play movies in my head. I would run scenes of how it would be, of the things I would do with my child, of the joy we would share.

One of the most enduring scenes in my head involved raking leaves. It would be a brilliant, fall day, warm and sunny. I would be happily raking and indulgently chiding my mischievous ragamuffin as he frolicked alongside me.

When today dawned bright and sunny I started to think I just might find myself reliving that fantasy I had long held dear.

But it was not to be.

Yes, it was sunny and warm and thousands of leaves had fallen in our large, ravine yard.

But Graham was having none of it.

He didn't want to frolic. He wanted Mommy to carry him around and around the yard while he pointed at trees. When I finally tired of that and encouraged him to play the part I had envisioned for him, the tantrum began.

He cried. I raked and sang a little song.
He flailed. I playfully tossed a few leaves his way.
He screamed at my audacity. NO MAMA!

I tried to introduce him to his own rake so we could work together.

He was clearly insulted.

And so I gave up. I gave up on raking and I gave up on my fantasy of how it would be.

Because if there is one thing I have learned since having Graham, it's that parenting is never quite the way you imagine it will be.

There are wonderful moments. Many wonderful moments.

And there are tough moments. Moments that are tougher than anything you imagine.

All these moments, good and bad, present themselves when you least expect them. The joy sneaks up on you and floods your heart like a tidal wave from the clear blue sea. And the frustration steals the show when you feel sure the scene is set for a happy ending.

And in the end, you learn that ultimately you are destined to play only a supporting role in your child's life. You learn that not matter how the movie in your head plays out, you can never be the director of someone else's show.

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Her Bad Mother said...

Oh, god, TOTALLY, totally true. It's nothing like how you imagine. It's so much better, and so much worse, and so much everything in between. But mostly, so much better. So, so much better.

Laura said...

The good the bad and the ugly all equate to a wonderful life when it is cushioned with lots of love!

Great post - love the photos!

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trish K said...

Wonderful post and so true...

I have 2 daughters and being raised in a house with all boys, I fantasized about the mother/daughter moments I would have with my girls the older they got and so far I am not quite making the mark...I still try.

Bea said...

I had that photo-op moment in my head before my son was born about pumpkins - going pumpkin-picking, getting a photo of my baby in the pumpkin patch ... and then we had the coldest, wettest October on record - there just wasn't a time to do it.

But then there are the moments you don't plan for, the ones that take you by surprise ... those are the best ones of all.

moplans said...

Yeah, the moments I had planned are generally a no go but as B&P says the ones that surprise you can be even better.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post! I had my almost 2 year-old daughter following me around the house all morning crying and whining. The best moments are the "three-out-of-three" moments (when I can get all three of my children crying simultaneously).

You are right, parenting is not what we expected is it?

Thanks for your NaBloPoMo invite. I think we are the only two pilot bloggers out there so far aren't we?