10/5/12

The fable of the crazy parent

Once upon a time, there lived two parents, Adam and Ralph, in a large village called Liberal Island, with their child Cubit.  Adam and Ralph were good parents.  They had given up a lot to be parents, in a society that did not always recognize their parenting possibilities, and to show their appreciation to the universe for the opportunity, they felt like they should do a really good job of parenting, the best way they knew how. 

Adam and Ralph did not start parenting with the same expectations that other parents have and they were not prepared for the changes that parenting would bring to their own lives and personalities.  They turned this experience into a lesson for little Cubit, that anyone can change, if they want to change bad enough.  Over and over again, they exhibited this lesson for Cubit.  And, they learned to listen to Cubit, because the more they showed Cubit how parents are, the more Cubit showed them what Cubit wanted to be. 

Cubit wasn't always the easiest child.  Adam and Ralph had very high expectations of themselves and expected Cubit to live up to similar expectations.  And, over and over, Cubit showed a lack of commitment to achieve even Cubit's goals, which were significantly lower than the expectations of Adam and Ralph. 

Still, Adam and Ralph kept their expectations high and consistently, despite creating a level of anxiety that bordered on insanity in the process, Cubit managed to meet the minimum expectations set forth by Adam and Ralph, usually by pulling some rabbit out of a hat at the last minute, after much crying and gnashing of teeth and removing of priviledge.

And, Cubit survived, growing in height, stature and pleasantness of both countenance and personality.  In short, Cubit developed a sense of humor and a thick skin and learned that the consequences of a failure to meet the expectations set forth for her was not worth the ensuing unpleasantness.  And, that Adam and Ralph will always make a place for Cubit, no matter what.

As Cubit grew, so did the desires of Cubit's heart.  At the age when an adult body does not equal an adult mind, or an adult ability to commit, Cubit became involved in a quest.  The quest was going to take up all Cubit's free time and also remove her from some of the things that were important to Ralph and Adam, like family dinnertime and supervised homework time and family sitting around together enjoying one another time while watching the stage plays of the greats, like Shakespear and Norman Lear.  The family time would be lost and could not be made up, even if schedules were adjusted.  The responsibility for homework would be supervised by some unknown adult, who, based on history, would not take the same care in those activities that Adam and Ralph had taken.  And, ultimately, the responsibility for keeping up with chores and homework would fall upon the shoulders of Cubit, in whose ability to shoulder those responsibilities, Adam and Ralph had little confidence.

Adam and Ralph felt terrible.  Their schedules would be interrupted by the quest.  Their family time would be interrupted.  Things would change.  Responsibilities would shift.  And, Adam and Ralph liked things the way they are and were afraid of the changes.  Ralph tried to prepare Adam, and even though Adam was listening, the full import of the changes did not hit Adam until the leader of the quest sent a proclamation advising that those involved in the quest would be busy every weeknight until at least the calling of "seven bells and all is well".  

Adam was not prepared to read that, and as he read more and more, all the things that had been so important in making little Cubit a part of the family and creating a family structure around Cubit began to flash through his mind, each an event that would be sorely missed during the ensuing months of the winter chill; from the night of the witch, through the bringing in of the evergreen boughs, past the welcoming of the new year and through the birthday of the great man known as "First President".

Adam did not handle the realization well and he began to wail his disappointment and his reticence to commit to supporting Cubit during the time of the quest, including tons of additional transportation.  Oh, the angst suffered by Adam as he realized that soon, a choice must be made between what was important to him, and what was important to Cubit, and he was angry, because he knew that ultimately, the things that gave him joy would be subjugated to not just this one quest, but other quests after that, stretching into the time of adulthood and self sufficiency.

That left Adam in the position to have to apologize to Cubit, not for feeling bad or for hating to see things change, but for blowing up about it, even though he didn't actually blow up at Cubit, but rather at the demands of the quest.  Still, it was crazy behavior and it was important that Cubit understand that, even though Adam is the master of change, Adam still has a long way to go before he lives up to his own expectations of himself.

The only consolation that Adam felt was that in a couple of years, Cubit would be able to transport herself and he would no longer be required to leave his armchair and his warm fire and shawl to retrieve Cubit astride the winged blue horse, Prius.  Oh, and the assurance that one day, Cubit would have a little Cubit of it's own and would be forced to make the same choice.  A choice that Adam would model for her, even if he didn't like it very much.

The end.

Be well.  Happy Friday.  Enjoy the Autumn wherever you are.

Adam

11 comments:

Becky said...

Lane, you weave a great fable! I hope you have a fantastic weekend. Sing a happy tune while you are in your garden.

Coloradolady said...

The Adam of this house is going to have to do the same thing with my little Cubit too.

I overreacted and blew up as never before earlier this week. Even though I know I was right....I went about it all wrong. UGh.....sometimes I need an instruction book of what and what not to say and how.

If I could just leave the emotions out of what I say...I'd be one step ahead of the game! But no.....it is the emotions that drive the cart!! Have a great weekend!!

Michelle said...

No matter what, Cubit is one lucky little girl! <3 Have a wonderful weekend!

Auntie Em said...

Despite the ups and downs and trials by fire, I do believe that this fable will have a happy ending.

PattiLynn said...

Oh my. I feel for Adam...I hate change myself, especially if it's not change I bring about. I guess we all have to keep growing....hard as it is at times.

Your fable is a great piece of writing! Very creative...but that's no big surprise considering the creativity that goes into your quilting.

Kate said...

You really, really should write a book. I am dead serious. You combine tenderness and humor very effectively. And what would help people understand better that all families face similar challenges?

Really, do it.

qltmom9 said...

Aw, Sydney's blessed to have an Adam to care that much.~ I hope she read that sweet tale. Is the quest basketball? LOL!
Hey, I have TWO drivers now who want the keys when we go out. I can keep fingers going on projects while watching the road and passenger seat driving! I think parenting gets harder.

Lucy~

Cindy said...

Brilliant!

Suzanne said...

What is the quest? Time with bio-fam? Dating? Basketball? Hoping you share more...

Carla said...

Welcome to parenthood. Love Love your fable. This would be a great parenting book for those first time parents. In fact I'm going to share this blog with my friend who is now in the process of adopting. I know he and his partner will make awesome parents but I believe they too will will have different agenda's for their little Cubit when he or she arrives. We all do. Some just flex better than others. LOL. My better half had a hard time adjusting. He's finally letting go of some of the control. Good grief I'd hope so...Our Cubit is 25 now.

Vesuviusmama said...

Adam and Ralph have many names. I've also heard Adam called Erin, and she made those same ugly noises. She learned to bring handwork with her wherever she went, to accept dinner sitting around the table at a fast food joint as still time sitting together around a table, and congratulated herself for producing a child who was brave enough to go off on quests, even as she lamented the inconvenience to herself. You are a good father, Lane. A very good father.