Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Parents' Night Out

Parents' Night Out, not Moms' Night Out ... because we have an honorary mom, a dad who homeschools his kids fulltime and is (and I mean this in the best, most respectful way) sort of "one of the girls." That is to say, it was the night of the monthly Austin Area Homeschoolers support group meeting, where our topic was "dealing with stress and keeping your sanity," and we had the rare treat of a visit from a veteran mother whose two homeschooled kids are now attending Stanford. She was a fount of wisdom, and as always, I return home from the meeting determined to RELAX about things -- specifically the academics. The "formal" meeting was followed by the "informal" meeting of five of us at Starbucks, where we ended up having this very deep and poignant discussion about parental death and the illness and dying process. One gal's dad just died of emphysema, two of us have terminally ill fathers, and the other two had been through similar processes -- isn't it weird, this sandwich generation? We went through a considerable wad of Starbucks-napkins-masquerading-as-Kleenex. But that led to a discussion of the fragility of our kids' beautiful childhood, and of that instinct we all share to value these precious moments we have with them -- the ones where they crawl into bed with us, the ones where they open up and talk, even the ones where they're a bit annoying -- and not parent simply with the goal of making them exemplary adults, because some of them never get there. If, Lord forbid, our child were to be taken in a car accident at age 18, as two local teenagers recently were, we wouldn't want to feel that our lives were wasted because we worked so hard and nagged so hard just to survive until they made it the "finish line" and left the nest as decent people. We all agreed we'd want to feel that we made something lasting of those moments and days and years in between. You know, those ones that go whirling by.
Heavy stuff, but somehow made more tender by cups of warm decaf mocha and a round table with friends who also find their cherubs amazing, exasperating, exhausting, hilarious, and ultimately lovable.

6 comments:

Tracee said...

Wow. Thanks for the eye opening reminder to enjoy NOW.

Anonymous said...

Llamas like lollipops. Llamas. Lollipops. Legend arena.

Hannah said...

Now THAT, folks, was my weird and seemingly random brother Paul. It's kind of an Office thing (as in Jim and Dwight) crossed with the llama trekking thing with which he has become obsessed.

Kristen said...

and yours are very very loveable. Btw, I hope you know and everyone else reading your blog is clear that Allen and I would be the highest bidders on eBay...

Kristen said...

There also lovable, as opposed to my spelling error above...

Naomi P. said...

They're lovabe?
;-)

I too appreciated this eye-opening reminder. Thanks Hannah.