Monday, March 10, 2014

Are Good Intentions Good Enough?

My Lenten sacrifices, plus no talking about the weather.
I gave up candy, ice cream and talking about the weather for Lent, which started last Wednesday.  Two days after the declaration of my Lenten sacrifices I had already blown it, on all counts.  And, on the first Friday in Lent, when you are supposed to abstain from eating meat, I had chicken tacos and dessert with ice cream.  Double fail.

I had good intentions, and I do not take my Lenten obligation lightly, it's just that I can't remember anything anymore.  Ask my tennis mates.  I forget I'm serving between points, and nobody ever counts on me to know the score.  I leave the grocery store, walk into the parking lot, and can't remember how I got there.  I should not worry about the slow start I've had with Lent, I should worry about my memory!

I never would have blown the "no eating meat on Friday" rule if Nan were alive because she always made shrimp salad served on a bed of lettuce, with tomatoes and hard boiled eggs, served with soggy french fries.  I'm lukewarm on shrimp salad, I don't like tomatoes or hard boiled eggs, but that traditional Friday in Lent dinner always tasted delicious to me.

Thank You notes are stacked on the left.
The photo above is a collection of the greeting cards that I purchased and never sent.  Another instance of my unfulfilled good intentions.  I think I also need to blame my shortcomings in this area on the absence of Nan, the "Hallmark Queen," who always reminded me of any upcoming events that required a card and pestered me until I actually mailed it.

My older sisters and sisters-in law are good with the cards, but my younger sister and I are always catching up, and it's not unusual for a cousin to receive their birthday card a month or two after the event.  What's the big deal?  It's a pleasant surprise.

As I looked through the pile of cards, there were lots of them for "DAD."  It seems the brats who expect perfection from us did not find the time to sign the cards that I bought for them to give to their Dad for a variety of holidays.  Ironically, whenever I need a card I look in my pile and I usually can't find what I need.

The question Are Good Intentions Good Enough is most relevant to me as it relates to parenting.  I try really hard to be a good parent and a good role model, but I'm not always successful.  Taylor was home from college on spring break and he and Connor were reminiscing about when they were younger.  Fortunately, I was there to defend myself.

Son 1: Remember when Mom locked herself in her bedroom?
Me (to them): I did not.
Me (to self): That seems vaguely familiar.

Son 2: Oh yeah, she did that a few times.

Me (to them): You're making that up.
Me (to self): It might have happened more than once, but definitely no more than three times.

Son 1: How about the time she threw me out of the car down the shore?  I was like 12 years old.

Me (to them): I promise you that never happened.
Me (to self): It absolutely happened, and I wanted to run him over too.

Son 2:  Mom threw you out of the car?  Was it running?
Me (to them): Are you kidding asking that question?
Me (to self): Okay, maybe it was not a complete stop, but he was athletic enough to jump out.

I should also add that this exchange took place in front of Taylor's girlfriend.  When I was a kid I would never have said a disparaging thing about my mother to anyone but my sisters, let alone tell stories like they were telling about me.  Things have changed.  Where's the loyalty?

All the good we do as parents and this is the kind of stuff they remember?  When we act like nuts?  Parents should get a club card, like you get at food stores, and accumulate points for all of the good things we do, and then when we do have that rare inappropriate outburst we lose a few points.  No big deal.  I am confident I would have a large surplus on my club card despite my transgressions.

I am generally a very easy going and level-headed person, but my kids know how to push my buttons, specifically, the "flip out" button.  Maybe it's genetic because my boys think my younger sister flips out the same way I do.  Oh well, I know she has good intention too.

Are Good Intentions Good Enough?  I hope so.

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