Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Secret Lives of Parents

When I was a little girl I remember sobbing to my parents time after time, could I pleeeeeaaaassseee go with them out to dinner/to the movies/to whatever grown up activity they were embarking on instead of stay home with my brothers and the babysitter. I so wanted to go with them - not to be left by them. To be involved in whatever kind of Exciting Fun they were about to have instead of stay home, having a regular ol' evening with my siblings and sitter. Not that I didn't love our regular baby sitter. And my brothers didn't treat me all that badly, either. But just to be with my parents, doing the obviously amazingly fun and different and exciting thing they were about to do - that was where I wanted to be.

(Or, was it more like I simply didn't want my parents to go in the first place? Yeah - that was probably the case at least some of the time.)

So of course when Hubby and I get the chance to go out every once in awhile, there's Sweetie... skipping with joy into Nana's house, already thoroughly entranced in her Lego playing within a minute of arriving, hardly even acknowledging the fact that Daddy and I are going away for a few hours or (as was the case last night) leaving her to sleep over, since he and I will be out past her bedtime. See ya, Mom and Dad! Have a great time!

Heck! When sleepovers are involved, there's practically an enthusiastic countdown of days leading up to the Super Fun event!

I don't believe Sweetie has ever asked why she's not allowed to go with us out to dinner/ out to so-and-so's house/ to the movies/ to the wedding (last night's event - for my boss's daughter's wedding.) Even when she knows perfectly well who we'll be seeing, where we'll be eating, what kind of fun can be had at the given event - nothing. She knows she's going to Nana's & Papa's house, or possibly being watched by Grammy and Grampy, and she is one happy little bee with her assigned place in the situation.

And even though I have 7 (and a half!) years of experience with this, it seemed that last night more than ever pointed out to me what exactly adults - specifically, parents - do with each other when they are fortunate enough to have an evening away from their kids.

We talk about our kids!

Of course, Hubby and I have been out for evenings before with other friends who are not parents. And inevitably we will bring up the subject of Sweetie one or two or 10 times. But we really do try to make an effort to "leave Sweetie at home," not talking about her too much because, well, we imagine the subject of parenting is just not all that interesting to those who are not involved in it. In fact, I imagine that they imagine we as parents are excited to have an evening away and to not "have" to talk about Sweetie would be our idea of a relaxing night out.

But in truth... uh uh. We parents honestly can't get enough of our kids and are thrilled to talk about them with anyone who'll listen. And what better group of people to do this with than with other parents who are just as enthusiastic about sharing their own kids' impressive qualities/maddening habits/sicknesses/achievements/challenges, etc., etc., etc....

And now I know beyond the shadow of a doubt... when I was little and my parents went out against my wishes!... they too, no doubt, were talking about my brothers and me with just as much heart and pride and amazement as Hubby and I now apply when talking about our Sweetie.

You are a joy, Sweetie. Yes, you're also a stubborn, at times whiney kid whose ears don't always work as well as they should. But mostly - a pure joy. And even when you are not with us, please know (and I think you do) - you are always at the forefront of our minds and we can't get enough of sharing stories of our life with you with whomever we are with who cares to listen.

That's what we parents do.


HennHouse said...

I love this post!! SO TRUE!

When my Tim takes me on a date, he makes "rules." No talking about work, the kids, or other family problems.

But we always make it back around to the kids.

Diana said...

I have a few friends who try to be careful about talking about the kids too much. For me, I don't think I've ever gotten tired of hearing about Sweetie!

Funny for a non-parent maybe, but I usually find the topic interesting.

I would imagine for parents it would be nice to have some time away from the hustle of every day life to talk about & process what the short ones are up to, also... But you know, from out here in the cheap seats...

aimee said...

Yes as a non parent I too find this topic interesting. thanks for sharing your stories. I have a ? not part of this topic. Can not locate your e mail. Mine is


Amy Linder said...

Hi Aimee,

So sorry about that! I added my email address to my About Me now. it is Thanks!