Thursday, February 21, 2008

food for a fight

Beloved and i had an argument this morning, one of those fierce flashes of temper that can spark over the breakfast table. Beloved was relating his latest effort to set his daughter on the Right Path. i suppose i was less than enthusiastic.

you're so negative about elissa, he whined. she's only 21.

by the time i was 21, i had a house, a husband, a baby and a job - every single one of them, in retrospect, a horrible mistake in judgement. (i also had a BA from johns hopkins - which wasn't at all a mistake.)

i realized, somewhere between the shouting and the sneering, what the fight was really about. most of the time i agree with and even admire Beloved and all he does. but not when it comes to parenting. when it comes to parenting, not only are our approaches wildly divergent, our emotional landscape is so different that one of us might've well have come from the moon.

i know what Beloved wants. he wants loving, supportive, kind annie - the one who sits and smiles and pats his back at usually every turn. but how does one support actions one doesn't agree with in the first place, even when one sees they are undertaken with the best of intentions? when actions consistently yield unsatisfying results, shouldn't a new course of action be considered, especially when one has an alternative course with proven stirling results laid out like a track before one?

you want to make it hard for me, whined Beloved.

the work of being a parent is very hard. it's the hardest work i've ever done. but of all the work i've ever done, it's the one that has yielded the most consistently satisfying, and, (dare i say) stirling results.

to be fair, to adopt my position with elissa would pit Beloved against her mother, who i blame for 95% of elissa's problems. but i know how it feels to fight an implacable foe. my ex tried to use the legal system against me. i never let who i had to oppose get in the way of doing what i felt really needed to be done.

Beloved likes to bemoan the fact that if only everyone listened to him, the world would be a better place. this morning, i know exactly how he feels.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

There are really only two things my love and I fight about: our children and our parents. And asking our parents to let our children be adults. And forcing ourselves not to coddle (me) or cajole (him) adult children into forming their lives into what we want them to be.
Babies are so much easier. The worst they do is puke on cashmere sweaters.