Thursday, April 29, 2010

How Your Kid is Like a Poem (but only if you're a poet)

Becoming a parent isn’t like they say it is. That subtle, constant disapproval of small children and those who raised them doesn’t go away. It’s just accompanied by a tired resignation that, to the childless out there, you are now included in that group. “It’ll be different when it’s your own” isn’t true, either, for anyone wondering. You’ll still be frustrated and disgusted, sometimes to tears. And for anyone who thinks you can’t be disgusted to tears, wait until you get distracted for that slip of a second while changing your kid after someone has fed him a bucket of corn and a barbeque brisket sandwich, and he gets hold of the diaper before you. Tears, I tell you. Also, possibly some screaming.

What was I saying? Oh yeah, parenting is difficult and frustrating. It’s also rewarding in a way that’s difficult to articulate. Because it’s not different when it’s your own. You are different when you have one of your own. That’s when little things like an unsolicited hug, or a moon-eyed child wandering up to rest his head against you when he’s tired makes your whole day.

Of course, the next day is more monkey-style feces-throwing (You be the judge of whether I mean this literally) and howling protestations when you give the child something he just freaking asked for.

Writing is a little like raising a child. You’re tired. All you want to do is drink a glass of wine and put your feet up and watch Lost, but you promised yourself you’d hit at least 1,000 a day. You’re so frustrated you can’t think, but just like you can’t shake a baby, you can’t rattle sense into your computer or typewriter. Time out barely even works on it anymore. And when a piece gets rejected, you feel like you’ve failed as its maker. And when it succeeds, happiness bubbles up inside you like a tiny, carbonated sun (Not really – that would kill you. The sun is hotter than you think). So you go on to the next day, or the next story, or the next chapter.

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