Sunday, August 17, 2008

reporting for duty

We are hitting our busy season at work, and I've been handed a few brand new projects on top of it. The mental exhaustion, not to mention sheer time put in, have eaten away at time to do this.

That said, It occurred to me earlier tonight as I thought about getting an update on here that parenting is a pretty remarkable journey. (Certainly Brian can attest to this.) Why do I throw out this random and vague remark? Well, Banana threw a huge fit at the pool today—one of several she has thrown lately. She was mad at me for making her share even when she didn't want to, and after a bit we worked it out and decided to head home. She was a very tired bug. Before we left the pool deck, though, she said she wasn't ready to go yet. I checked my watch and told her she could only play for fifteen minutes. "Twenty," she said, and I bit my tongue and gave it to her. It was worth more to me to see her bounce out of the earlier funk than it was to fight to leave right then. When we did leave (on time!), she was in good spirits and rubbing her eyes. There was one more minor hiccup on the way home when she decided to tell me what upset her about our head-to-head earlier.

Then the fun part happened. We got home, and I asked her if she wanted to see the pile of school supplies* I'd bought while she was on a playdate earlier in the day. In an instant, she was in the kitchen helping unpack and label the school supplies while I made dinner. Her spirits were great. Between dinner preparations, I was able to help her get everything together.

It is impossible to overstate how important these brief moments of working together are, how much they offset earlier upsets.

* The teacher assignments at Banana's school come along with an extensive list of school supplies that must arrive with the child on the first day. Some of them are labeled and child-specific—certain pencils, an art smock, their folder, etc.—but many are put in the common pool of glue sticks and crayons for the entire class. This is just one of the many ways parents end up subsidizing the public school system, a system so bankrupt of operating capital that buildings cannot be repaired effectively and parents must raise money or provide supplies just to keep the classrooms stocked. Wouldn't it be remarkable if the government recognized that our schools are every bit as important—maybe even moreso?—as our military-industrial complex?