Parenting forces you to make about 1,435,988,322 choices every day.
Some are relatively minor. What clothes should the kids wear? Do I give them water or milk to drink, or the highly coveted juice?
Others seem small but are important in laying future groundwork. Do I work on my son’s handwriting, try to teach him math, or indulge his interest in volcanoes? What punishment fits the crime of body slamming his sister or snatching a toy?
Then there are those crushing you with the pressure of failing and making the wrong choice. What is the best school environment? Do I homeschool or try public school? Do I take my child to the doctor, or recognize there is nothing they will do with these symptoms?
Somewhere in these piles of daily questions lurks one I fear I am not answering correctly:
Do I tell my child the truth, or just what he/she wants to hear?
The Tackler is a very inquisitive almost-five-year-old.
“Mommy, do we get born again?”
“Where in the United States can we live that doesn’t have volcanoes, earthquakes, or tornadoes (he hasn’t learned about hurricanes yet, or tsunamis)?”
“How old will you be when I’m 102?”
I find myself in a battle to tell the truth versus sugar-coating the answers.
The truth wins out most of the time.
Now my son is very worried about Oklahoma. And the tiny possibility we have of a tornado on Wednesday. And how no place in the United States is guaranteed free of natural disasters (we’re working on understanding the meaning of “probability”).
The roller coaster of life brings exhilarating highs and tragic lows. I find myself unable to paint the world white without the black shadows and shades of gray.
So when my son says, “Mommy, you can never go to Hawaii!” -based on its volcanic activity – I use it to explain how its volcanoes are different from the explosive ones.
The possibility of a tornado brings up safety measures and why we hide in the bathroom.
My choices may not be right.
They may not be wrong either.
I honestly don’t know and probably won’t for another thirty years.
Until the day my kids have their own kids, turn to me and go, “How did you do it?”
Then I can smile, cuddle my grandchildren close and say, “With love. But I was totally winging it.”
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