Friday, May 18, 2012

Parenting since May 18, 1997

Chicken Soup has a call out for stories.  The title of this one is Parenthood.  Sounds like a no-brainer for me, seeing as I've been at it since 1997.  And speaking of 1997, that's the year my first baby was born.  May 18, 1997 to be exact.  Which means that today is that baby's birthday.  Happy 15th Connor!  I know I say this every year, but, seriously!  Where does the time go?  I can NOT believe you are 15!

I remember when...

Age 2

Age 9...with a broken left wrist

Age 15... with a broken left wrist.

But I digress.

At the twice-monthly meeting of the WWWP's this past Wednesday night, we were reminded by oh-so-responsible Sioux that we needed to hurry up already and get our Parenting stories submitted.  How, she wanted to know, would we fall over in fits of laughter all the way through our book tour if all five of us did not submit to the book.  Not once did she say "if all 5 of us don't get published in" the book.  No, the thought didn't even cross her mind!  She of the comfy shoes and quick smile, sidelong glances and scribbled notes of dirty humor on fellow WWWPs' papers.  Hmphh.

A few of us are struggling with this particular submission.  We're all parents.  In fact, each of them has been doing it much longer than I.  Hell, I'm a newbie compared to their "adult children, empty nest" selves.  They must have thousands of stories to tell!  But me... well, I've started a few, but something stopped me about halfway with each of them.  Linda hit it on the head last night when she explained that she just hadn't found the "perfect parent" story to tell.  Oh, geez, if that's a requirement, I'm screwed.  No such perfect stories here.

Let me digress again.  Because I know that most of you would say that it's harder to parent than to write about parenting.  And certainly you would have every right to say so.  And if I think back to my own household last night, I'd be highly inclined to agree with you.  But, it's difficult to write a true story about parenting with a neatly wrapped up ending.  Because the truth is, this parenting thing?  There is no neatly wrapped up ending.  It's an ongoing tug-of-war, of learning, screwing up, praying, hoping, and most of all loving.  What I will try to do is take one moment in time.  One tiny segment of this long journey and tell a story that speaks to all parents.  That reminds us that none of us is perfect.  None of us has written the Parenting Bible (although there are some good books on the topic out there).  Remember when you gazed down at that perfect infant in your arms for the first time? That first smile? That first sleep over, first day of school... The truth is that there are so many moments, so many firsts.  Maybe it's difficult to write a story of parenting in a way that does the role justice.

But I will try.  Because I want to be on that book tour with my fellow WWWPs.  We're a wicked bunch, and God, would we have fun!

But, back to today...

Happy Birthday Connor!  I'm so very proud of the young man you have become, the grown man I envision you becoming - one of great character and quiet strength, with a fantastic, intelligent sense of humor.  Raising you is a privilege and an honor that I will always, always cherish.

And another big BIRTHDAY SHOUT OUT to my dear friend, Rose, who begins the last year of her thirties today.  I cherish this friendship of ours that goes back 34 years.  May this year be your best yet.  I love you!

Whether you're a writer or not... I'm sure you've got stories of your own.  And if you're a parent, why not try writing one down and submitting it to this Chicken Soup for the Soul book?  Click for more info.


  1. Beth--Sometimes smaller is better. Smaller guts. (Mine is huge.) Smaller feet. (Mine are size 11.) Smaller debts.

    Small stories can be quite profound with their simplicity.

    (And is the phrase "comfy shoes" a secret code for "butt-ugly Crocs" or were you just speaking in general terms?)

  2. I forgot to note--what a handsome young man Connor is. He looks just like you.

  3. Sioux - I'll agree with you, but believe I have found a topic to kick off our next WWWP meeting...I'll save it for the privacy of Lynn's beautiful home... (note the ellipsis)

    And thank you - he is the only one of my three that looks like me. ; )

  4. Happy Birthday to Connor! Nice job in raising such beautiful AND good children. Sioux wants those of us who have entered a story for CS to enter more, to up our chances. I better get on it because... well you know... so instead of writing, I'm catching up with blogs. egads. sigh.

    1. Thanks Lynn! Oh, Sioux...she's such an overachiever! Maybe she's just feeling sorry for us because we've got to enter X times to get in to those blasted books. Ha! I guess I better get off the blogs, too!

  5. Happy belated birthday to Connor! Cute boys, and I LOVE that G.Q. two-year-old shot! At two, my son's pictures usually involved tears, snot, and cowlicks. And yep, you summed it right up--how do you end a parenting story? Time to borrow Sioux's ellipses, I guess.

    1. Thanks Tammy! That GQ shot was from a wedding - one of my favorites ; )
      But, most of the others at that age sound much like your own... (speaking of ellipses)