October 26, 2007

This, I Agree With

My mom sent me this story today. It's an essay for the NPR series "This I Believe," and it says something I also believe, which is that admitting that you feel badly about something is often a good thing to do, and is not the same thing as blowing your bad feeling way out of proportion.

The author doesn't mention parenthood in the essay, but I think it's a particularly good lesson for parents to remember. I mean, really. To reiterate my example from my earlier post--I am grateful that Elliot isn't puking up a worm* but that doesn't mean I can't be crabby about the fact that he spilled a box of wheat thins all over the kitchen floor this morning right as I was trying to leave the house and then sobbed and smeared snot all over my sweater while I tried to tear the wheat thin box out of his clutching fist. That was irritating! It was! And it's okay if I feel irritated about it. It's just not okay if I take out my irritation on other people in unfair ways; it's not their fault my favorite sweater is now smeared with crumbs and Elliot snot.

The good news, though, is that Elliot slept much better last night, so I am less irritated than I might be. Yay! Happy outlook restored.

*People keep asking about that worm story! You'll be happy to know that the daughter who puked up the worm was totally fine. Her name was Julia, and she grew up fine and happy and had a happy marriage and several kids, and after the Civil War she (along with lots of other southerners, who knew?) moved to Brazil where she helped set up a town where dispossed southerners could continue to hold slaves free from the meddling of yankees and carpet baggers. I don't think she herself actually owned slaves, though. A few years later she moved back to Alabama and wrote a book about it, which you yourself can read if you go to the UNC Southern Manuscripts archive; they are very nice there and can help you find it even though it's not in the folder with the other Hentz family papers, just fyi.


sheree said...

This is something I've been thinking about in referenced to Jackson's development. About how I am so excited to help him learn about all things--Science, language, food, sociology, politics, love, happiness. But the things I really struggle to let him learn about are frustration, anger, and sadness. I rush to sooth every tear. I tell myself that he needs to learn the bad along with the good--but I want to shelter him from it.
I have more thoughts on this. I'll blog soon.

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