Daily Foglifter: There are only four words in the English language which end in “dous”: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.
I am not a gusher. I am not going to run across a crowded room to give someone a hug. I’m not going to excitedly clap my hands and jump up and down with glee. I don’t squeal with delight. Ever. I’m not saying I don’t feel like doing these things. In fact, I’m jealous of those who can, but I can’t bring myself to do it. It’s just so embarrassing. It’s a real problem, particularly around Christmas and birthdays. Everyone’s staring at me as I open gifts, expecting something, and all I can manage is a half-smile, half-smirk, and a mumbled “thank you.”
I’m backward and I know where it comes from. It’s a gift from my dad. I remember family get-togethers with his side of the family where everyone either paced the floor, sat in corners alone, or fidgeted. (I’m of the fidgeting variety. Cuticle-picking, nail-biting, toe-tapping, hair-twirling, and lip-biting are just a few of my annoying habits.) I also remember those get-togethers as being incredibly funny, but not in the uproarious, obvious way. You had to pay attention. self-deprecating remarks, heavy sarcasm, gentle gibes, and corny puns were all part of the repertoire. When the focus is on words, it draws attention away from the person. I listened closely and learned well.
Why the sudden introspection? Yesterday, I was asked to do something. I was asked to look objectively at my blog postings and consider how they might be perceived by someone who didn’t know me. More specifically, by someone who didn’t know how much I loved my children. The request really shocked me. I wasn’t angry or upset, just surprised. I was also concerned. I didn’t want to give the impression that my children are a burden to me or that I think my life is miserable. They aren’t and I don’t. So I read my posts and did notice my tendency toward exaggeration and peevishness, but thought it was obvious I meant no harm. Then I realized that though it’s obvious to me, it may not be obvious to others. So I sent a few trusted friends a message, asking their opinion. Everyone seemed to get it, but I was still worried. I thought about it from my kids’ perspectives. What would they think of the things I said about them? The only way to find out was to ask.
I chose Aidan, my 11-year-old. He’s smart and he’s usually honest with me. Our time doing home school together has established a special bond between us. We talk a lot about things and he shares my love of finding the ridiculous in the every day trappings of life. So I ask him, “If I said you were a night owl and a morning slug, what would you think I meant by that?” He says, without missing a beat, “That I stay up late and am lazy in the morning. That’s funny.” I ask him, “Would that hurt your feelings if I said that to you?” He says, “No, because it’s true.” He, too, is listening closely and learning well.
I didn’t go into massive self-examination because some random reader suggested I sounded a mite bitter. This person is someone I know very well and someone who only had my and my children’s best interests at heart. I appreciate it. I have asked for honest feedback, and that includes negative as well as positive comments, but I’m not going to change anything. Momfog is about the difficulties of motherhood. It’s not all sunshine and lollipops. I cope with the stress through humor, sarcasm, and hyperbole. It’s a dynamic I’m comfortable with and one that my children and my husband understand. And that is what’s important.
I don’t know any parents that look into the eyes of a newborn baby and say, “How can we screw this kid up? ~Russell Bishop