As much as I HOPE to have taught my children over the years, they have taught me things each day as well. I don’t just mean how many times I can hear the word “MOMMY!” repeated like a broken record before I finally snap and say “WHAT?!?!?!?!” shocking one of my little turdlings so much that they jump backwards and refuse to ask the question they were bugging me about in the first place. That along with attempting to turn me into a morning person by rising before the sun didn’t really work out in their favor, but I learned, right? Nothing in life is pointless or a waste of time if it can be turned into a learning experience. I learned that the time I crapped my pants on the way to work many moons ago and decided I needed to laugh at the bad things in life…. it was either that or crying, crawling under a rock, and never coming out again. Having kids only reminded me of that, except it was them pooping their pants instead of me (thank goodness!)
If we look, and we don’t have to look very hard, children are not only teaching us about life- but about ourselves. They are the reflection of everything we want to be… and occasionally the reflection of the bratty little kids that we were, and potty-mouthed adults that we are. Oops!
All adults are, are overgrown children, right? We were all children once, but a switch happens somewhere along the way. You might call that puberty. Maturity. Maybe even adulthood- but it’s not just a physical or mental growth- a switch flips, and lost in space are a lot of the things that make little children so tolerable (seriously, they have to have some pretty awesome traits for us adults to keep having them).
One of my family’s favorite things to do is to go to Busch Gardens. The kids BEG to go. They would probably live there if they could.
Typically, if Parker doesn’t get a nap he turns into a complete and total monster. He is just impossible. Not at Busch. That is how happy he is there- he doesn’t actually need a nap to continue to act like a human.
This weekend was especially exciting for him because we finally got to go to Busch during their annual (almost) 2 month long Halloween celebration, where the entire park is transformed into fun and spooky sights and attractions. One of his favorite rides is called The Battering Ram. Basically a big boat that splits in the middle and riders on each side are facing the middle (and each other) that rocks forward and backward high up into the sky. The sides usually have screaming contests. When I was younger, it was “TASTES BETTER!” vs. “LESS FILLING!” These days it’s “WOO” vs. “WOO”- creative, right?
Once the ride came to a halt and we waited (quietly, oddly enough) for the lap bars to be released so we could exit the ride, Parker perked up and said loudly “Did everyone have a good time??”
It was so sweet! His eyes had lit up and he had this HUGE smile and he just wanted to know if everyone else had as good of a time as he did. He’s 4. That’s remarkably thoughtful if you ask me.
Although we were only a few feet from the opposite side of the boat that facing us, and I saw people look RIGHT at him as he asked this question with his sweet little voice, NO ONE answered him. Confused by this, he asked again. His face fell. I’m not sure if Thomas noticed this, but he quickly answered for everyone (I was two people away from him or I would have), but the damage had already been done. For the first time in his life, Parker encountered assholes. Up to this point, everyone he approaches is so happy to talk to him. He’s kind of hard to resist, what with those giant dimpled cheeks and big brown eyes and extremely warm and inviting personality. Even though he was visibly upset by the cold shoulder received on The Battering Ram, he continued to happily talk up strangers all day long. The whole world is that kid’s friend, even if they don’t seem to want to be.
The difference between Parker and adults (other than a few feet of height and some years), heck the difference between MOST kids and adults, is that while we walk into a situation, more often than not, expecting the people around us to be an asshole, he walks in and thinks everyone is going to be awesome. It’s not just the benefit of the doubt, he truly believes that all people are good. Innocent until proven guilty. It’s truly an amazing thing to witness, because years of being a grown up with grown up responsibilities and stresses tends to make us forget the little things. The little and important things. The things that we can learn again by watching our kids and how differently they act and react to situations in life.
The kid (and his older brother) has taught me that I should be incredibly proud of my bladder control, because they haven’t squeezed out two kids and they can’t hold it nearly as long as I can; that as much as I hate them, I should learn to laugh at farts because they are natural- or they must be, what with how often the boys claim not to be able to contain them. I even learned that I can get a HELL of a lot done before the hour of 8am on a Saturday morning. And Sunday. And every other day they wake me up. Which is every single day since they were born. They definitely taught me that I can do ANYTHING if I put my mind to it- like giving birth and cleaning up a poo-splosion without barfing. After the Battering Ram? It was hard to hold on to the lesson they teach me the most- that you have to actually give chances instead of immediately assuming the worst.
It sucks that growing up seems to almost always equate to losing the ability to give people the benefit of the doubt. Guilty before proven innocent. All it takes is one or two good scaldings from one or two major assholes, and we spend the rest of our lives assuming most of the rest of the world are assholes, too. But maybe these one or two assholes were only assholes because people were assholes to them when they were kids. I know that’s a lot of assholing- but it makes sense! I don’t believe that people are BORN assholes… even if babies act like assholes when they’re screaming in the middle of the night or dumping a carton of milk on the cat or playing Picasso with their poop. It takes time to really become a life-long child hating a-hole (there, I didn’t say asshole that time!)
So if we don’t want any more you-know-whats in this world, maybe we should take a page out of our children’s books and stop assuming everyone else is and just be nice until they prove to be an undercover… well, you know.
Oh, and if a sweet little kid asks you if you had a good time, YOU SAY YES! ENTHUSIASTICALLY! Or you can go ahead and blame yourself for the teenager that rear ends you and then gives you incorrect insurance information. That level? That’s on you, buddy!
Our days may have the joy sucked from them due to responsibilities, bills, stresses and other dumb shit, but THEIRS don’t have to.