Sunday, September 30, 2001

Here's what they don't tell you in the maternity ward:

Your job isn't to be the best friend. Your child will make those herself, by criteria which are not entirely clear to you.

You have just volunteered to be the person who shouts "DON'T SLAM THE DOOR!", who reflexively says "Did you wash your hands?" every time the bathroom door opens, who says "Did you finish your homework? What exactly is our definition of 'finish' today? Every problem?", who says "Sometimes people are just mean", and who searches her memory for a coping strategy better than her own childhood solutions, who is screamed at when the math homework is frustrating, who says "I don't CARE whose fault it is, you do not bite your brother!".

In short, the source of Order. The wellspring of lessons, both conscious and implied. The person who is supposed to know the answers, to set the rules, to be the template that one rejects and embraces.

Here's to eleven years of motherhood, and to the hope of carrying the job through to completion.

"I'm sure you've got a lot to learn; that's not your fault, it's just your turn." -- Dar Williams, "Teenagers, Kick Our Butts"