There are many things which I truly love about being a parent to my two children.
At first thought, I was tempted to say two elementary-aged children. I realize however that the comedy and reward of parenting truly has nothing to do with their age, but rather the journey. Each portion of their life represents a sort of ‘new chapter’ if you will.
I often find humor (lots of it) in the amount of irony one crosses as they parent and teach their child.
This most recently became apparent as I was summoned to the bathroom of our home to ‘take care of a spider’ which had found its way into the bathtub. In our home we have a pretty simple and somewhat humane rule. Spiders outside are left alone as we are in their home, but when they cross the threshold of our single story home, all bets are off. Simply put, spiders are ‘fair game’ in our home.
The irony of this situation became apparent immediately.
My son had just left his room for his shower when he stumbled upon the intruder. The very same room where he proudly displays a very large fuzzy faux tarantula as part of his bedroom Halloween decorations.
As I heard the words ‘mom… mom…’ travel down the hallway, I was certain he needed a clean towel. Responding with the appropriate ‘Yes, what is it?’ I was informed of the spider.
Quickly redirecting my attention to the hallway and headed toward the bathtub, my daughter quickly stated, ‘Sh*t, there’s a spider in the bathtub?’
This sentence stopped me dead in my tracks, as I looked to her for a recount of the sentence she had just shared. When questioned she simply replied, ‘There’s a spider in the bathtub?’
With a little encouragement and questioning the first word was repeated.
Like any parent would do, I inquired where she heard this word and of course she stated she did not know. In complete fairness to her, we are in a full-fledged sports season. Post season baseball, football into full swing and she has been surrounded by a lot of enthusiasts in the last few weeks. She comes from a line of ‘passionate’ sports enthusiasts, so my money is on them.
Truthfully, ‘bad’ words to my children are words like ‘Shut up,’ ‘Stupid,’ or ‘idiot.’ Personally speaking I have always viewed these words as ones which can do permanent damage to ones’ confidence. Therein lies why I would classify them as ‘bad’ words.
As for swear words, I would not be completely truthful if I stated I never use them…but rarely in the company of my children. Of course the word ‘stupid’ does slip out on occasion, mostly while driving and the gasps heard from the backseat prompt me to quickly excuse myself.
That evening however, as that inquisitive sentence came from the mouth of my daughter I was actually surprised by how little it upset me. Granted I would not want her using such language on a daily basis and most definitely not at school. When questioned however, it became perfectly clear that she really had no idea that it was a ‘bad’ word.
As I shared with my daughter the reasons we ‘don’t use such language,’ she nodded and simply said ‘Okay mommy,’ and that’s pretty much where we left it.
There was a spider waiting, after all, and I had business to tend to.
Later, as I hung up my Super Hero Spider Killing cape, I recounted the comedy of events to a friend. As parents it gave us both a good chuckle. Parenting is truly funny stuff.
Sure there are days when the tears rival the laughter and with teen years still off in the distance I can honestly say I am in no hurry. In all honesty, I’m still coping with the fact that my oldest now calls me ‘mom.’ I truly miss the ‘my’ portion of mom-my every time he says it, but that’s life I guess and this is just the beginning.
For now I’m just grateful for the sacrifice of the spider and the simplicity of a swear word for giving us yet another night of real life comedy.
Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.