I planned on doing a 2018 reflection blog post, but time got away from me and 2019 didn’t start out on a great note. Now I’m over it and so I’ll only say, “Hi 2019!”
Today, I’m going to do what I usually do on Facebook and share a moment I had today. I was gonna do it on Facebook, but I figured it’d be far too long and also I felt it was time for a blog that wasn’t some rambling introspective diatribe and just something that may produce a giggle or two. Okay here we go…
I feel like I just had my first *real* parenting moment.
Understand, I never have had a biological child. I never will. (I’m pushing 40…that ship has sailed for me.) But being a woman who has dated women her whole life, once you hit a certain age, you start dating women who have kids. I have never minded it. I like kids and they generally like me… (when they get over the, “are you a boy or girl?” conundrum… long story, moving on…) I’ve been with women with kids as young as 2 and as old as 18, so I’ve kinda seen most stages of childhood as a pseudo parent. But I never considered myself a real parent.
Prior to marriage, I dated someone for 4 years with 3 kids who saw me as a “step-parent” type person. I helped raise them, and I loved them as if they were my own. When you come from the type of background I have, I’ve kinda learned what NOT to do as a secondary parental figure by experience. I’d like to think while I may not have been the best girlfriend in some ways, but I would dare say that I’ve always treated every child I was around as they were loved and cherished, the way many of my ex-step parents never treated me.
I’ve been married to Shauna for almost 5 years now, and I’ve been in my step-daughter’s life since she was 4 years old. At that age, it was fairly simple for her to grasp the fact that her mother was dating and then ultimately married a woman. She’s been a champ with all of the changes that have been thrown her way. I love that little girl and see so much of her mother in her, but still, I have a hard time seeing myself as a real parent. But today…. Feel like I had my first parenting moment.
Driving home from picking her up from the YMCA camp she goes to, she’s glancing out the window…
Her: I used to hate VIP servers...
Yes, this is how the conversation started. No preamble, no context, just talk about servers. See, now I understand why our parents always marveled at how times change. WTF does this little girl know about servers?!
Me: Uh… what?
Her: I used to hate VIP servers, but now not so much.
Me: You…uh… You wanna give me a little context here? I feel like you just looped me into a thought that you were having in your mind at the end.
She proceeds to explain that she’s playing some RPG online game featuring Warrior Cats, a book series she’s been obsessed with. She explained said dynamics of the public vs. VIP servers to me.
Seriously, I’m thinking about hiring her to speed up a sista’s wifi and build an in home server the way the girl was talking.
She proceeds to segue into some fan fiction she’s into called “A Lesson in Practicality” (some anime thing based on what I understand).
Her: What does practicality mean?
You have to understand something about our kid… she does random voices and when she does random voices, you can’t be too sure if she’s playing or being serious.
Me: Wait, is a serious question? Are you setting me up for a joke or you really don’t know what practicality means?
Her: It’s a serious question.
This was a big moment ladies and germs. My kid is asking me about being practical. This is an important lesson for anyone to learn, and she’s asking ME. Guys, if you really knew me in person, you’d be as terrified as I was in that moment.
Me: Well, being practical… hmm.. Okay, do you understand what it means to be a dreamer?
Her: Yeah, I think so.
Me: Well a dreamer is someone who likes to create things whether they seem like they can be done or not. Being practical is like the opposite of that. When you’re practical, you consider everything, what could go wrong, what is feasible, what is not feasible. The thing is, it’s important to be practical and it’s important to be a dreamer. When you’re a kid, you usually start out as a dreamer, and then you learn to be practical with experience. Being practical can keep you safe, but being TOO practical can make you boring or hold you back from being creative.
At this point, I believe, even while driving, I literally HEARD her eyes glazing over.
Internal self: Okay, B, you’re losing her. Let’s try another route. You can do this!
(Yes, I have my own internal hype man.)
Me: Okay, so I'm a dreamer by nature. I'm a writer and a musician. I like to create things, right?
Me: As a dreamer, I could have quit my job, put all of our money behind my book with the dream that I would go on to be a best selling author, make a lot of money and be able to live my dream.
Me: But practically that is not something I could do. I have a wife, I have a kid, we have a mortgage, two car payments, a kid who will be going to college at some point.
Her: In seven years...
WHO was counting down towards college at 11 in OUR days, people?!
Me: Exactly. We have responsibilities that can't really be met with only one income. So practically, putting my dream ahead of our family and responsibilities would not be smart. But I'm still a dreamer. So I still work, and write as well and maybe, just MAYBE, my dream will come true and I WILL become a best seller or something and be able to write for a living.
All that above? That wasn't the parenting moment I spoke of. No... That above was simple wisdom. It was my mind's way of encouraging our child to dream while cautioning her not to lose sight of reality, the way I would assume, a real parent would. No, that wasn't the moment people... THIS....THIS was the moment...
After all that sage wisdom... I wasn't even fully done with my last sentence, and this little girl points out the window...
Her: ARE THOSE BIRDS?!!!!
Internal me: WERE YOU NOT LISTENING TO THE SHEER AWESOMENESS I JUST BESTOWED ON YOU? WERE YOU PAYING ATTENTION?! YOU ASKED ME A QUESTION! HOW ARE YOU GOING TO LOSE INTEREST IN AN ANSWER TO A QUESTION YOU ASKED? WHAT? HOW ARE YOU SO EASILY DISTRACTED? ARE THOSE BIRDS?! PAY ATTENTION! THIS WISDOM WON'T BE AROUND FOREVER!!
Me: (out loud) Hmm... Yeah, I think those are birds...
And with THAT, I would like to formerly apologize to both my mother and my father for a whole lot.