I took my son on a roller coaster at Disney World. He made it clear that he was not interested. Grayson is a cautious kid with a high level of intelligence who puts a lot of thought into his actions. I was insistent that he ride the roller coaster with me. I knew that he would enjoy it. I wanted him to experience the thrill that comes with swooping back and forth, racing up and down, and the tingling sensation that comes with the feeling of weightlessness as you make a rapid descent in a highly engineered death cart.
I finally convinced him to get in line with me. After a few objections he reluctantly boarded the roller coaster, and off we went….
It scared the absolute sh*t out of both us.
It was a horrible experience. I am not sure why I thought it would be a good idea in the first place. I puke on carousels and sometimes even car rides. I once threw up while standing in line just watching people ride on Space Mountain.
I didn’t know how it was going to turn out. I didn’t know if it was best to shield him from the potential danger or have him face his fears and experience the discomfort. I had to make a decision, one of the thousand decisions that we make every day as parents.
The roller coaster ride was one of those moments when you step back and take a look at the incompetence and ignorance that comes with being a parent. At that point in time, I was keenly aware of the fact that we are all living an intense version of the old “choose your own adventure” books. My parents didn’t know anything more about being a parent at my stage in life than I did at this particular moment, and the same goes for their parents. If I would have known how few answers my parents really had when I was growing up, I probably would have run away at about age five.
Oddly enough, I take a great deal of comfort in the ignorance that comes with parenting. I can rest a bit more easily knowing that I am not the only one who is raising my children on nothing more than a series of educational guesses on an imperfect system of experiences. Sure, we all want to believe that we know what is right for our kids, but the problem is that we don’t know what is right for us. Generally speaking, we pass down what is familiar to us more than we do than what is right.
To know that I am not alone. To be certain that we are all in the same boat. To have the knowledge that none of us have the right answers but we all have a desire to the best that we can. This makes me feel a lot better about my shortcomings as a parent. It helps me to sleep easy knowing that there will never be a manual, and there will always be an argument that there was a better way, a different way, a safer, and more dangerous way to have raised our kids, this helps me accept my mistakes and continue to try my best. I can sleep well at night with the knowledge that at the end of the day, no matter what stage in life….
we are all just winging it.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,