Pass-Fail Parenting

Judy had a post up the other day, Am I Failing Kindergarten? (no, Judy, you are not!), that was both hilarious and right on the mommy-money. It was about learning the kindergarten ropes, and the accompanying frustration. It not only brought back memories of when our kids started school, but made me cringe a little on Judy’s behalf, because I know it only gets worse.

Yes, I remember that time, and wish my memories of parental failure could stop there. Oh, trust me, there were some doozies – the time I completely forgot to pick my daughter up from preschool. It was just a little embarrassing to get a call from her teacher asking where I was, which was almost in my driveway. Or the time The Boy spilled some soda on the floor at Mickey D’s (yes, I know, more failure – my kids were both allowed to go to McDonald’s and didn’t always have to drink milk there, either) and tried to lick it up. I did catch him before his tongue hit the floor, but the look of absolute horror on my friend’s face was like an ice pick to the heart.

I like to think this is normal stuff, though, so please if you’re horrified don’t burst my bubble. Every parent has memory lapses, weak spots, and moments of bad judgment. There is no perfect parent, and I suspect those who pretend to be are sweeping their embarrassing moments under a carpet somewhere.

And anyway, these aren’t the kinds of things that would make me feel like a parenting failure. It's when I have to honestly say to myself, "I should have known better" that I feel a real sense of failure. Times when it was easier to snap at the kids than to figure out what might be behind a certain behavior. Or times when I didn't think ahead far enough to anticipate challenging situations.

Adoption falls into that last category. I knew so little and accepted so much at face value when we first adopted, so many questions went unasked. I wonder sometimes if our children might know their first families today if fifteen years ago I'd asked the questions I'm asking now.

There are, of course, no guarantees that asking a question nets an answer. But I really do believe that adoption trails grow cold with time, and that finding information, keeping up with it, and keeping it in trust for our kids can make the difference between reunion and permanent separation.

So next time you are wondering about something related to your child's adoption, don't answer your own questions like I often did, with information that I know now was incomplete or incorrect.



suz said…
awewsome post. made me chuckle all the way through. oh the stories we call could tell about parenting. i love the visual of your son licking up the soda. hahaha. (my sister once picked chewed, runover gum off a street and put it in her mouth!)

and yes indeed. ask.
amy said…
What a great post, glad I stoppped by. We are adopting from China!

Im also having a comment contest that just started with some cool prizes. Im just a normal blogger who was blessed and love sharing blessings mean it gets worse as time goes on??

*smacks self in head*

What have I signed up for?

Julee Ann said…
I love your attitude and honesty. I'm not always a fan of Oprah, but I love this comment of hers:
"If I'd have known better then, I would have done better." Carry on.

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