This morning before school I got down on all fours in the dining room to demonstrate to Ainsley what the turtle looked like the moment before we picked it up off the road a couple of summers ago. I tried to stretch my neck as far as would go and I looked at her with fear in my eyes and looked left and right like “Holy shit, where am I and how did I get here?”
We both laughed. It was one of those successful moments of parenting that fills me with this feeling that I won’t even try to describe. I try to pile those moments up to the roof. We all want to be awesome parents. Even the great parents want to do better. It’s the hardest “job” in the world.
Unfortunately, I’m not an awesome parent all the time. I get crabby. Patience drains. Silliness vanishes. In dark moments I might believe they caused my bad mood. Not true. It’s in the self-help books: happiness is a choice, right? A foul mood builds on itself and shields you from reason. That’s why I’ve been thinking more about mindfulness lately.
Mindfulness is important enough to spend time on every day, but winter drains me of this along with of other important stuff–basic stuff. As March approaches, though, I can sense some improvements. The color is coming back into my life. After two such winters I wonder how long I’ll continue to live in this climate. I can’t afford to trade in 25% of life.
Unfortunately, our turtle talk reminded me of a another story, one without a happy ending. Luckily, I was by myself when I stopped in the middle of a busy four lane divided road to rescue a hapless turtle. I jumped out and waited for two cars to pass over the top of the turtle that was right in the center of the inside lane, plodding towards me. The first car whizzed by. My eyes were on the second vehicle, a pickup truck. At the moment it passed I took a step towards the turtle, six feet away.
For a second I was confused by the disgusting crunch. What the hell? The anonymous driver of that truck is the only human being I hate at this point in my life.
Let me look at this through his eyes. The speed limit is only 35. There’s a guy standing in the middle of the road waiting to enter his lane and there’s something large in front of him. Couldn’t he have slowed down, switched lanes, stopped?
I jumped back into the van, devastated, disgusted, and angry.
Mindfulness would have saved that turtle.
Update: Of course, not ALL parents aim high. What can you say about the sickos of the world?