I’m messing up my kids. On purpose!

When I was about 6, which is Holden’s age now, I can remember asking my parents if I tzcould watch The Twilight Zone movie. I don’t know what in the hell they were thinking, but they agreed, and I spent the next hour and a half watching through my fingers and becoming increasingly terrified; a feeling that stayed with me for a LONG time. Even though they had witnessed panicky movie-scared me, they didn’t object to me sitting down and watching Candyman- and thought it was hilarious that I couldn’t go to the bathroom alone for a friggin’ year. Well, they thought it was hilarious until I made them get up in the middle of meals to accompany me to the bathroom.

They let me have sleepovers where me and a gaggle of tweens would stay up all night drinking Surge from the bottle and belching. They let me eat Halloween candy until my stomach hurt. They ordered movie theater popcorn with extra lard… I mean butter- but more often, my mom didn’t want to spend the money so she would sneak a bag of popcorn into the theater in her purse and we’d all snack on it while we laughed.

Mom and Dad were rare to sugarcoat anything, which may have occasionally resulted in pout2hurt feelings, folded arms, and pouting. They called me on my shit, many times in front of friends, and I swore at least twice a week that they were trying to ruin my life. Their punishments often seemed harsh and unfair, and I was told no. A lot.

My parents REALLY messed me up with all the shit they did that they probably weren’t supposed to, and maybe even some of the stuff they were, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Everything they did, even if I didn’t like it, encouraged me to be my own person. To make my own decisions, and to learn from my own mistakes when I needed to. Without all those things- the terrifying, horrifying, embarrassing, and amazingly fun even if inappropriate things made me who I am today, and I kinda like who I am today.

And now? Now I get the chance to watch my kids grow and learn and play just like I did, and I take the opportunity to teach them any and every time the chance arises. Ride the big water slide, even if it gives me palpitations. Ride the scary rollercoasters, even if it scares them so much they don’t speak to me for the rest of the day. We’re going to eat dessert first, play hookie, watch scary movies, have a food fight, sit on the couch all day eating candy and watching movies. They might hear me curse, or scream, or cry, or yell at inanimate objects for not doing what I tell them to. They might be told things that are total bullshit- like not sitting too close to the TV or they’ll go blind, or that they’re too big or too small to do something they want to do because I just don’t feel like it, and I might make them do things they don’t want to do.

Why the hell not?

Life isn’t neat, or tidy, or perfect. It’s whatever the hell you want it to be, but you onlyget to do it ONCE. You get ONE chance, and I want my kids to experience it all, the good, the bad, the ugly, the amazing, the weird, the inappropriate, the silly, even the sad and the scared- even if that means messing them up a little.


Posted on April 30, 2014 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment
Holdin' Holden

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