I got a lovely wee email yesterday from a *fanf*ckingtastic* person who informed me that I'm failing my children by not working harder to 'protect the children's innocence'.
In the first place, I cannot begin to tell you how much *I* love getting parenting advice from strangers. No really - I love it. In fact, *every* mother does...... I simply walk around the Wal-Mart, kids akimbo in the cart - *not* belted in - filling it up with every sugar cereal, bags up on bags of candy while The Boy smokes a fattie and The Girl cracks open a PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon for those *not* living in Oregon or in a trailer court) - because round these parts we're raisin' those kids right.
Of course, I do this while texting and pushing the cart in my house slippers with my dress tucked into the back of my nude-colored tights: tits out.
I do this with a keen desire... nay - a *yearning* for people to come up to me to dispense to me their finest parenting tips. No. Really. That's how I spend my Sunday afternoons.
In the second place, and from a more honest standpoint.... there is *only* so much I can protect my children from as there is only so much I can control. So, let's be clear:
I cannot control things I do not do.
I cannot control who does, or does not call my children.
I cannot control the fact that my children know their Dad has a girlfriend. (because *I* didn't tell them!)
I cannot control the fact that their Father *has* a girlfriend. (note: currently, I could care less. lolol)
NONE of these things are under my control and yet.... are my problem.
There are, indeed, worse problems to have in this world.
Since I cannot control these things, I will not *lie* about these things. In the first place, to have a good solid lie that stands the test of time one has to have history with the subject and an understanding of why you're lying... and I have neither of those.
In the second place, *I* do not think lying to anyone is going to do anything other than screw up my children further. Let's *assume* I could 'protect' them from 'the truth' - that I could somehow convince them that living in two homes is a *great* f*cking idea: this is fun... sleeping in a full-size bed, all your toys stuffed into storage while you're aging out of them and by the time we get a place of our own they'll be fit for the goodwill.... YES! THAT is an awesomef*ckingtime. lololol
Let's assume I could make that happen... oh- and by the way, I'll let ya'll know when that works because I'll be paying my rent in Unicorn horns and sliding down the sunnier side of a rainbow - and we can *all* benefit from some Unicorns and rainbows... right?
But that's just the thing....we sell our kids *lies* to 'protect' their innocence.... flying horses, Beasts that change at the hands of a Beauty, witches and wizards and little boys that do magic are real, racism doesn't exist, cookies won't make you fat AND are a great way to heal all skinned knee's, and you will live in a home with two parents who love each other, never fight and never 'accidentally' have sex with 22 year olds.....
We feed our children good lies - Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny.... no one feels 'robbed' when they realize that those things aren't real.... we always suspected it - so it's no real shocker when we find out the truth.
Some truth, however, is harder to find out - and much more damaging when we find it out much later in life. What happens to my children if I work really hard (otherwise known as lie a lot and cover up the hurtful and convenient truth of what's really happening in their world) - but their world is "safe" and good and whole..... and then: it's not. Only, they don't find out it's not for years or decades... and during *that* time they've built up their self-esteem, their lives, their morals and values and part of WHO THEY ARE.... only to find out: it was lies.
What about their adult innocence? Is it not incredibly damaging to build a strong foundation for your children directly on an emotional fault line whereby you just sit and wait for the earthquake to come along and take them down?
Sorry: not gonna happen.
I do *not* expose them to anything. But what I won't do is lie. Life is going to *suck* - and you can either see it coming and roll with the punches... or run like a little b*tch and let life take you later. I learned a long time ago that taking my hits *now* is waaaaaay freakin' easier than letting them stack up for later.
So no, I do *not* go out of my way to protect my children's innocence nor do I think I should. What I *need* to do, what I have done: is teach them how to deal with *life*.
Yes... people are going to do really sh*tty things..... and you can't always walk away from that person or the situation. Sometimes it's someone worth fighting for. Sometimes it's not.
The *important* life lesson to learn is that not everything that happens around you or *to* you is a reflection of you. Thus far *that* is a message The Boy has gotten loud and clear. He does struggle to process the choices his Dad makes... but - he knows those are HIS DAD's CHOICES. He knows there is nothing he could do - should do - to make it different. He has separation from those choices.
I believe that knowing and understanding that will help my children build a solid foundation of compassion and self-confidence where they know people *can* and will hurt them, but that they can deal with that hurt, build a bridge over it and move the f*ck on.... (as Tupac once infamously said).
I actually think that too many adults are still (desperately) holding onto the fantasy that everyone has two loving parents who live under the same roof.... and these people can't fathom that that doesn't happen for everyone. Well... it doesn't. I think these people confuse their idealism for innocence.
Plus.... idealism and innocence aren't the strongest foundations for a solid adult.
I'm not bitter... i'm not angry.... but that doesn't mean I'm not going to pretend things aren't different, because what we live *day to day* isn't Unicorns and rainbows and two loving parents in one house.... but you know what - we don't sh*t in a hole The Boy had to dig with a broken shovel while we bathe our clothes and our bodies in HIV infested water and fly's aren't using our eyeballs and foreheads as their own personal skating rinks..... so yeah: life could be *much* worse. And YES, my children are made aware of the hardships people of all colors - in other countries face.
Wah... we share a room.
Wah.... you're parents are divorced.
Wah.... you have to live in a warm house that has air-conditioning The Bubbie makes dinner every night, does our laundry and plays with you alllll day.
Let's face facts people..... life is just *not* that rough.
Sexual abuse: robs you of your innocence.
Physical abuse: robs you of your innocence.
Gang violence: robs you of your innocence.
Being Lied to: robs you of your innocence.
Growing up in truth, even if it's a hard truth, if you are taught to deal with it, laugh with it and *grow* WITH it.... you may not be innocent, but you will be strong, self-confident, compassionate, able to laugh and see the world through *fair* eyes where not everything will be perfect, not everything will work out the way you wanted, but you will be able to accept that and still dream about making things better.
So no.... thoughtful email writer: my children aren't as innocent as they once were, but I dare to think that on some level, they might just be better people for it.
Thanks for your two cents though..... please feel free to seek me out at Wal-Mart on Sunday.
I'll be the one in the sock-monkey slippers buying a shotgun and letting The Boy load it while he rides in the *main* shopping cart: not in the seat.