Out of all the lectures I received from my mother as I grew up the only thing I really remember her saying to me was, "You will never know how hard it is to be a parent until you are one." I hated that. I really did. I used to inwardly roll my eyes (because if I outwardly did it she'd have knocked them out of my head) and think to myself, "You just don't know or remember how hard it is to be a kid." How self-centered. But that's kids.
Without going into theories of human development and whatnot, kids are self-centered. There are no two ways about it. It's true some of them grow out of it faster than others and some never at all. And there are varying degrees of self-centeredness within each child. But it's there in all of them. Sometimes they do are say the dumbest things that make us parents stand with our mouths open, heads shaking, thinking, "Don't you get it?!" No they don't.
We've always taught our children that they may get to do or say or be whatever they want but they don't get to choose the consequences. And the bigger the stupid, the bigger the consequence. Some of our kids get it pretty early and some don't. Our oldest said today that he only broke our trust once and he was so disappointed in himself, as we were in him, that he never did it again. Or at least got caught. Because really isn't that part of being a kid? Doing stuff you are not supposed to and not getting caught. I still relish those moments myself.
I have to say that my teenagers are the funnest people. I enjoy this stage of life with them way better than the infant stage. Babies are soooo cute and cuddly but they poop and throw up on you and get you up at all hours of the night and you can't sleep in and the laundry--don't get me started on the laundry. My teenagers don't poop on me anymore and they do their own laundry and sometimes they are out too late and I need them to come home so I can go to sleep but they have these great personalities and they have fun friends and interesting adventures. But they can do some of the dumbest things.
Really dumb things.
Things that make me say something to the effect of, "You will never know how hard it is to be a parent until you are one." And I hope, somewhere, deep deep deep down inside their little self-centered hearts they get that. But I afraid they don't. I'm afraid it's a pipe dream.
And so my next thought is this, "I hope you get one just like you." I know my mother thought it at least once. Because I did. I got one just like me. Possibly two.