Wisdom is all around us, but unless we are ready to receive it, it just floats by us like a dandelion in the wind. We spend the better part of our lives lecturing our children about the hazards of life: be careful with fire – you’ll get burned, brush and floss or your teeth will fall out, turn down that music or you will go deaf, and I don’t think that boy is the one for you. And it is all for naught.
We have learned the hard way that until you burn yourself, get a cavity or two, have your friends tell you the music is too loud, or get your heart broken, that we should have listened better to the wise words of others. Unfortunately, it is a lesson we never learn.
I remember being a young wife with no interest in having children. I was focused on my career, my new home and finding the perfect pair of bell bottoms. My social group was composed of other young wives who already had their first babies. At parties, the conversation revolved around colic, ear infections, how to make baby food at home, toilet training, and cloth versus disposable diapers. There are no words to describe how bored I was. These women were obsessed over the minutia of raising children. Good grief, how hard could it be?
Fast forward four years. I gave birth to the world’s unhappiest baby. I think they called it colic. I called it hell. I tried to remember what the other young moms had said they did for their babies with colic, but, of course, I didn’t need to know… then.
Baby number two was a better sleeper, but she completely rejected toilet training. It was just a bore. She would tease me with “dry days” then promptly revert. Friends assured me that hardly any children went to kindergarten in diapers.
They warned me the teenage years were the worst, that I would be pulling my hair out. They told me about the ridiculous lengths they had gone to in an effort to control the behavior of their kids. I could not even imagine such a thing, not my angels.
I got my wake-up call when I discovered a ladder propped up by the second-floor window of my daughter’s bedroom. She was NOT washing the windows. How could this be happening to me? Who are these children?
Then I discovered that the reason these darlings could not get out of bed on time was directly related to their 2 a.m. phone calls and video game addiction. I already had the upstairs windows wired for security and hidden the ladder. W.W.M.F.D. (What would my friends do)? With their guidance, I collected all electronic devices of teenage pleasure and locked them in the trunk of my car where they remained for months until I saw better behavior. I was the Wicked Witch of the West at home, but at bunko, I received many accolades for bravery.
My children are now grown and happily married with children of their own. Frequently, I make the mistake of trying to give them advice on raising their children. They smile and humor me, but I know when they find that ladder propped up to the second story they will ask themselves, W.D.M.D. (What did mom do)?