Over the last week, I have seen this quote twice — on Facebook and emailed to me by a reader commenting on a recent rambling in this space.
It’s from Dave Harvey, a man of faith who apparently in a book or commentary along the way astutely opined, “I thought parenting was going to portray my strengths, never realizing that God had ordained it to reveal my weaknesses.”
I got to thinking about the quote on Tuesday night as I struggled (more like wrestled) to contain Carson, 2, at a Sesame Street Live! show in Salisbury.
There has been no greater test of patience in my life to date than being a parent to little ones. I learn something new every day through parenting and seemingly discover new character flaws of mine each day as a result. It’s a tremendously humbling process, and my kids have no idea what kind of impact they have on me over the last four-plus years.
I have long known my lack of patience is a significant flaw, but parenting has forced me to embrace and accept it as an ally the hard way.
With this concentration on showing better patience comes some moments of laughter as well as frustration, which at times soar to the level that I often can feel my hair literally graying atop my head. There are times when parenting can get so frustrating the only thing left to do is laugh.
One of those instances was on Tuesday evening as Elmo and his friends (the Cookie Monster is my favorite, for what it’s worth) entertained several hundred little ones in Salisbury.
Beckett, 4, and Carson were having a ball dancing and singing to songs they apparently knew quite well. As far as their dance moves, the kids are quite adept at cutting it up.
Beckett can be a little spastic with his dancing, but he shows solid rhythm, albeit in his hind quarters area most of the time. For some reason, he focuses primarily on shaking his posterior end in a furious fashion. That’s never dull for his parents to observe, of course.
Carson, too, demonstrates some rhythm in an unusual way, but he shows it in a country sort of way with a furious clapping of his hands while lifting his knees so high he often looks like he’s going to fall over. Where he learned these interesting movies is a mystery to us, but they sure were hilarious.
It was good stuff all around as they kept us entertained. That was a good thing because I admit to not being too interested in the dialogue on stage over a magic wand between Elmo and some individual known to the kids as Abby Cadabby, or maybe it was Sally Canale.
Everything was going smoothly until intermission. We decided to leave our seats and explore something called a “play zone”. The kids behaved well there, but everything went south in a hurry when we returned for the second half of the show.
I blame myself for what transpired. I was harkening back to the days when I went to a lot of live concerts and would always search for a better seat than the one proclaimed to me on the ticket.
While I embrace the rebel nature, I learned once again that night just to stick with what’s working when it comes to kids and don’t think outside the box.
The problem with the new seats that I thought were so great was they provided the kids with a huge aisle to dance in and play in. The previous seats had us sandwiched in between others and they had no choice.
Because I thought the view was better, we went with the new seats and I paid for it dearly.
Beckett wanted to be free to dance and sing, and that was just fine because he listens to us. Carson, therefore, wanted to do the same thing, but that’s not alright because he does not listen well at his age.
In short order, Carson was climbing on railings and trying to escape to other areas of the arena. Consequently, I put Carson on lockdown mode in my lap. That went over as well as you would expect, particularly since Beckett was free.
Pam did her best to convince Beckett to hang close so Carson would not get so upset. That worked to a degree, but the damage was done. Carson got a taste of freedom and he wanted more, much more of it.
There are times when you can tell when your kids are upset in a sad sort of way, but there are times when it’s obvious the kids are upset in a mad sort of way.
This was a case of the latter, and it was tough to get Carson back on track, at least while sitting in a seat or on my lap. It didn’t help that it was an hour past his normal bedtime at this point.
I tried walking him around and letting him hang in an area where he could have some freedom without having to worry about him climbing things. That didn’t work, as he discovered some dirty places to put his hands as well as learned some new means to jump over inanimate objects and even found a fire door to flirt with.
Back on lockdown mode he went on my shoulders, in my arms or anyway I could to keep him content.
After a few head butts and slaps that brought me back to that Dave Harvey quote, the show finally ended. By the time we got back to the car, I had sweat through my shirt, but was able to get a quick update that the Orioles were at least winning.