I have spent the last decade spouting off affirmation after affirmation to my Varmint and my Critter. In my efforts to raise them to be strong, self-reliant, self-confident positive forces on this earth, I’ve been a regular Stewart Smalley. A True Jack Handey. Every day, there is some new positive thought I have either said, or written in a card, or put in their lunch box.
I hope to counteract all the yelling that way.
I have been promoting the idea of “walk your own road” to the point where I get the eye roll from both Varmint AND Critter whenever I pull it out. Well they can eye roll me until the cows come home! It doesn’t change the fact that I never want them to follow the crowd, but rather to wholly be their own person.
I ask them, “If you were on a pirate ship, would you want to be the Captain, or a Swabby?”.
I say things like, “Be tolerant. Remember, if everyone liked the same things, all the lines would be too long.”
I preach things like, “As long as you care about what someone else thinks of you, you will always be their slave.”
or “This is YOUR life. Shape it, or someone else will.”
I’ve shamelessly lifted these sayings from a host of self-help books, humor websites, and bathroom stalls. Plagiarism is an ugly word, but I never give these sources credit when I espouse them to the kids. Mostly out of laziness, but also so they’ll think I’m as wise as Confucius. And if, one day, they find one of my pithy sayings in its original source, and they call me on it, I plan to act appalled and accuse those authors of taking my ideas.
I’m slick that way.
Yesterday, I had one of my own stolen pithy phrases thrown in my face.
We had arrived about 5 minutes before my mother at my son Garrick’s basketball game. I brought my camp chair to park myself in, because if I sit on the floor, my knees and hips lock up on me like the engine of a ’71 Chevy Vega. My varmint, Gwendolyn sat on the floor next to me.
When my mom arrived, she plopped right down on the hard, cold gymnasium floor with Gwendolyn, prosthetic knees and all. She had not brought her own chair, so I offered her my chair, but she waved me off.
A few minutes later, at the beginning of the game, I offered Mom the chair again. She poo-pooed me.
At the middle of the first quarter of the game, I strongly urged she take my chair. She laughed.
By the beginning of the second quarter, when I was SURE every other adult there was looking at me like I was some kind of selfish, heartless offspring of the beautiful gray and white haired angel, I insisted she take my chair.
“Why?” she laughed. “Are you afraid I might break a hip down here?”
“No! But people are going to think I’m a horrible daughter to make you sit on the floor!”
And then my punk, Gwendolyn, mocked, “Mom, I thought we weren’t supposed to care what other people thought about us.”
That set my mother off in a peel of cackling laughter.
I would have moved my chair away from both of them if it didn’t require so much effort to get up.