This should have been my Monday motherhood post but I’m still experiencing a tremendous case of not-getting-things-done-because-I-don’t-care syndrome. It’s something different every day. Mom’s birthday was last Friday. I cleaned up the desk a few days ago and came across the last card she wrote to Miss T in November. Harry the cat has disappeared. As Roseanne Roseannadanna would say, “It’s always something.” I’ve told friends it’s like experiencing the aftershocks that came with the 1994 Northridge earthquake. You don’t know when they’ll arrive or how long you’ll feel them.
Back to the motherhood post I didn’t write. I think 85% of good parenting is
That's not my hand.
achieved subconsciously, mostly by the actions our children see us take. Case in point: programming a Logitech Harmony 900 radio frequency universal remote. (Wait, did you just nod off?) Side note: how is it that Caltech and JPL engineers can control a rover on Mars, but operating home entertainment components behind a solid wood cabinet is frowned upon because of its complexity? Anyhow, after purchasing said remote for $250, one can hire the Geek Squad to program it for an additional $150. (Which is what we did four years ago when we put the system in.) For that amount of money, a new television could be purchased to replace the one in the playroom that’s just this side of black-and-white. I decided to program the damn thing myself (because the old one died).
Stay with me. I’ll try and be brief. The Logitech people included a software disc in their package, which I promptly downloaded as Step One. Failure. I walked away for an afternoon to deal with soccer and came back, dug around the Logitech website, and realized the software was incompatible with my laptop’s operating system. Downloaded correct software from the internet, began process, SUCCESS. Glitch number two was four steps later. Glitch number three came right at the end. Tweak this, move that. Badda badda bing. Two-and-a-half hours in, remote programmed. I didn’t give up when the going got tough, saved a small bunch of money.
Down the road, one of my girls is going to face the same conundrum. Does she hire someone to do a difficult job she could do herself, like teaching her child to ride a two-wheeler (people actually pay others to do this for them*), or does she stand up straight, take a breath, and think, “I could spend that $150 at Brandy Melville instead”? She’ll remember me sitting in the den with wires everywhere, a large instruction sheet, and my laptop, and realize that if a fifty-year-old who still uses the word ‘hip’ could achieve what many have deemed impossible, she too can attempt complex problems and afterwards bask in the glow of accomplishment. (There’s actually been no outward basking. No one seems to give a shit about the remote – but inside, I know what I’ve done.)
My point: be brave. Let your children witness your brevity. It will probably make a difference down the road.
Three more things:
- 1) For the past twenty-five years or so, there’s been a real shift in the confident use of proper pronouns after a preposition (alliteration has fallen out of favor, too). Just this morning at a meeting, I said, “Their success is as much about him and me as it is about the school.” And while I didn’t hear an audible gasp, I worried that someone in the room thought I’d spoken incorrectly. Objective pronouns have taken a real beating since the mid-eighties – in contrast to their perceived superior cousin, the subjective pronoun – and I’d like to encourage all of us, again, to be brave. Just because the phrase “between me and her” sounds funky, doesn’t mean it is. Respect the preposition by correctly using objective pronouns after. Let’s start a trend.
- 2) I try and bring in my own bags to Trader Joe’s. Each time I do, I fill out the little raffle ticket in the hopes of winning the $25 in free groceries. I’ve done this thousands of times and never won and now believe the whole thing is a hoax. Anyone? Thoughts?
- 3) New York Times columnist Gail Collins always included Seamus, the Irish setter, in articles she wrote about Mitt Romney. (Seamus was the dog on the roof of Mitt’s car.) Until Washington passes better and more thoughtful gun control measures, I’m going to include a link in all of my posts to someone, somewhere who has a real voice and/or vote on this issue so that you’ll contact him or her and we’ll make progress in reducing the number of senseless gun deaths that occur every day in this country. Today: send a note to Dan Coats, R-Indiana. Make it emotional because this IS an emotional issue. Less guns means less killing. It’s math – the kind of arithmetic that matters to innocent moviegoers in a theatre watching a film, or kindergarten students in a classroom learning to read.
* I pawned my children off on friends who taught them how to ride two-wheelers. They simply didn’t want me around. (Thanks Debra Jo; you pointed this out. Thanks Lisa; you made it happen.)
Life, Parenting, Politics