Parenthood…taking care of the chicklets

red ink…

We both really wanted this job . . . the job of being moms, that is. I remember when Barb and her husband came to visit us a few months after I had my oldest son. We all went out to lunch together and were totally mesmerized by this new little person who had completely refocused my life. (Her hubby was actually petrified the whole time that I might actually breast-feed in the restaurant! :)) I had so much good advice then .. I really thought I knew what I was doing. So funny now as the mom of teenagers when I’m feeling more incompetent every day.

We both have become moms who are trying – despite everything – to do our very best job with these little (but not so little anymore) lives that we’ve been given to care for. We are at once tough on our kids (pushing them to be excellent like our parents did for us) and intensely and purposefully affectionate (lots of “I love you’s” and hugs and kisses), but the job just seems to keep getting more complicated, and we lean on each other more and more for advice and for solace.

Did any of you check out the latest episode of NBC’s Parenthood, where the mom Kristina, goes back to work defiantly because she is feeling unappreciated, and her son with Asperger’s gets lost on the bus and ends up being picked up by the police on her very first day?! Her reaction, her husband’s and her daughter’s all hit home for me. Barb watched and afterwards texted me something like — “OMG! I was in a puddle. Are u ok?”

When the show first came out, I hadn’t heard about it (I’m not the popular culture chick, remember) but Barb and my friend, Doreen, both called to say that the show reminded them so much of me. There is a “Max” and a “Drew” on the show (my sons’ names), one of the children is the same age as my eldest, and the other has Asperger’s. The mom, who has enjoyed a promising career, has worked outside of the home only off and on and instead, has made her primary job caring for her family. There is also, mirroring Barb’s life only a little, a family of three with a precocious, smart, strong willed little girl, and a smart, strong willed mama who is determined that her daughter will be all that she can be, along with a very level headed husband who helps to balance them. Each week, the show manages to hit the mark on some aspect of our lives. Honestly, sometimes, I wonder whether the writers have a mole in my house!

This particular episode made me think about Barb’s comment in an earlier post that her prayers are most often not for herself, but for her daughter (and her husband). Barb has repeated to me so often during this latest challenge, that she just wants to make sure her baby is ok. Each time she says it, it tugs at my heart. Don’t we all just want our kids to be o.k.? It’s what we think about every day as we watch our kids face both everyday and extraordinary challenges — we just want them to be ok.

The two of us are both fiercely protective chicks who are willing to fight off tigers if we think they are threatening our chicklets (this is funny for me because my boys are both so much bigger than I am, and my daughter is gaining fast). In one recent episode of Parenthood, the mom Kristina, bolts from the car and confronts a group of kids who are subtly teasing her son (who just doesn’t get it), and tells them to basically f–k off! Though I haven’t actually done this (my son would kill me), I have wanted to more than a few times for him and for my other kids. Intellectually, I know that I can’t always protect them, but I wonder if, given all of my hard work and prayers, I have actually prepared them to be resilient when the storms come, as they surely will.

What does it take to prepare our kids to be resilient? That is, indeed, the million dollar question. Without a doubt, I know we agree that it takes faith, friendship, love, and a good sense of humor, at the very least, to keep going whatever the weather. When I think about the gifts that I want the chicklets to have this season, I want to be certain that these are among them – they are surely the most important.

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