Most weekdays I make it into the YMCA where I get a “break” from all of my mommy duties. Funny, how sweating on the treadmill is considered a break, but it is. I use this opportunity to reflect on whatever is on my mind, zone out, or read a junky newsstand tabloid, while getting in some much needed calorie burning.
Just recently though, I have been challenged. There is an affable gentleman whose title is “Cardio Floor Supervisor” and it’s his job is to patrol the floor, clean up machines, offer assistance, and be friendly to members. He’s all that and more. I think. I’m not suggesting anything illicit, not at all. He’s probably old enough to be my kids’ grandfather and appears to have much experience and wisdom, and perhaps even a hard life. He learned recently that I like to write.
We’ve exchanged small talk here and there, but today was different. He told me that he has a writing project in mind and wants to know what the first thing he is to do to bring this story out of his heart and onto paper. The very first thing!? Uh, well–that’s a big question. My answer: have a great idea. He told me that my response was all he needed for today and that he would ask me one question a day about writing until he felt he had them all answered. Alright–I’m up for the challenge.
But the thing is, there are no right or wrong answers to the artist who is crafting a story with words. There really is no formula or recipe one must follow to get the desired result. It is a process. It is individual and it doesn’t always garner the results one would like.
And so, I applied this concept to parenting. I started getting sweaty (and not just from the workout) thinking, “What if he planned to ask me a question a day about parenting. Would I have any answers? Would I know what to say?” No. Because like writing, there is no recipe for parenting. We screw up, we make mistakes, we crumple up the paper and toss it into the recycling bin. We get discouraged and we don’t always have the answers. Parenting is a process. Parenting is individual and–here’s the scary truth–it doesn’t always produce the results we hoped for. But, gosh we love our little people more than anything in the world. I would bet that you, like me are willing to ask a few questions when the parenting (or words) won’t come.
That’s all in my brain today, Thursday May 27th 2010.