Thanks to The Daily Prompt for this little nugget. It’s a great question. And I’ve kept one resolution that I made 21 years ago, while pregnant with Eldest Spawn.
I was 16, pregnant, and terrified. I was in college, so I was smart enough to know that this could be very, very bad, for me, the child, and society in general. I was told I would never finish high school OR college, and that the unborn kid was screwed from the start. I might as well just give up now.
I almost did. I spent a few nights with my .357 in my mouth, pretty sure suicide was the only solution.
I didn’t do it. I can, however, still taste the cold, oily, metal on my tongue and it reminds me of the only resolution I ever kept. As resolutions go, it’s pretty vague and it doesn’t exactly reach for the stars:
Screw up my Spawn as little as possible.
It started with the hope that maybe all was not lost. That if I tried hard enough, learned enough, and wanted it enough, we could maybe be ok. I was taking Survey of Calculus at the time, so I began with the known quantities–things I knew I did or did not want: Don’t ever make them feel like the only good option is to kill themselves. Tell them how smart they are. How beautiful, inside and out. Keep them alive and relatively safe. Do what I can to help them not be in the position I was in (trying to parent while still a child) . Tell them they can be whatever they want when they grow up (even a mama duck). Love them.
But…HOW?? I began by talking to other parents (grown-up ones), and reading a lot of parenting books. That eventually led me to self-help books and counseling, and depression medication, and support groups, where I made some great friends who loved me unconditionally and taught me how to take care of and heal myself, and my spawn. I tried and retried everything. I made mistakes, and learned from them.
I am not Parent of the Year. I swear too much, I’m cranky in the morning, and until recently, my housekeeping sucked. I hate cooking. I have made a TON of mistakes. But I read something about parenting once that stayed with me…I don’t know who wrote it or where I saw it, but it went something like this: Children are like a clean glass. Every parent harms their children in some way. Some hurts are just greasy fingerprints that can be wiped off. Others leave chips or cracks. Some shatter their glass children irreparably.
My goal is to at least give them the tools to overcome the damage I (and the rest of the world, including themselves) will do to them. So far, so good… I hope.
PS: I found this pic on Facebook today. Perfect timing for this post! It reminds me to ask myself where I am today, and where I want to go.