Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Calvin and Rob

The great joy of being a parent is that it is a full-time, life-long gig. It is a tenured position. Once inducted into the army of 'rents, you remain in it. Who knew that being a parent was so gangsta? "PARENT4LIFE YO!" Wow, in my mind's eye I can see Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg smile. Of course, when one enjoys the recreational and medicinal benefits of cannabis as much as Calvin Broadus does, a smile is merely a toke away.

A parent is able to experience great joy through the successes of one's children. Their joy is our joy, their happiness is our happiness (you get the idea). I am not talking in terms of that warped Little League pathology where the parent attempts to take a second lap around the track of youth by channeling him/herself into the body of an 11 or 12 y/o child. I am talking in terms of the appropriate, proper, grown-up reaction to positive developments in the life of our kids, such as the happiness we feel when he/she comes home aglow in the light of good grades, a promotion at work or having just met the love of his/her life (or this month's edition anyway).

Being a parent is not a free ride by any stretch of the imagination. Along with the opportunity to share in our child's happiness and to bask a bit in the glow of our child's success comes the responsibility of being there when all is not wine and roses. A parent's greatest frustration arises out of the inability to fix something that is adversely affecting one's child. We long to make their journey through life as painless as possible, knowing that there is only so much we can do and constantly reminded of all of the things that we are powerless to prevent.

I am troubled presently by my own impotence. I lack the skill set needed to solve a problem presently confronting one of my two young adults. All I am able to do is to be a source to which he can unburden the ills of a particular day or week or whatever before helping him pick himself back up and head back into the game. Candidly, I am not sure whether I am being any help at all. And my inability to solve his problem for him is a source of great frustration to me. I am tormented by those problems that I cannot fix. The torment is greatest when the problem for which no solution has been formulated is one that plagues one of the ones I love the most.

And yet, at day's end I retain a modicum of hope that by helping him - by doing nothing more or less than paddling the canoe towards shore - the solution that heretofore lies undiscovered for him shall indeed reveal itself. Bound by an unbreakable tie, we shall continue to struggle onward until we get to where he needs to be.

The toughest job you'll ever love - indeed it is.


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