Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Baha"ma's Mama

Bahama Mama - Frozen
This is a Bahama Mama.  It is a perfect beach day drink with dark rum and coconut liquor.  The little umbrellas added to the glass make it particularly cute (Pinterest worthy I'm sure).  Yes, I'll take two please.

Baha - planning his escape into the wild world of CJ's room.
This is Baha.  Not quite the same (although also Pinterest worthy I think).  He does not come with anything coconutty, he comes with live crickets that we feed him three times a day.  Although, in terms of similarities - he'd love a trip to the beach.

The other night when Jerry was talking to him (yes, you talk to Lizards just like dogs and cats, and for some people, plants) he referred to me as Baha's mom.  I did not correct him, it was a passing comment and we went with it.  Jerry, however, noticed and said, "Wow - you didn't even flinch when I called you the lizards mom - you like him..."  Ah crap. 

Truth is, I do.  He's our second lizard because apparently the 1st one came to us not quite well, we didn't know, and we didn't help.  I felt terrible when he died because CJ was sad, and I knew nothing about lizards and thought I'd killed him.  What a horrible feeling!  Baha, is also pretty dang cool.  With the 1st one, we were the proverbial parents with a first child not having a clue what to do with it - and we really screwed it up.  Now, so far (I don't want to get too confident - it's only been a week) Baha is thriving and growing.  He had shed his first round of skin and it seemed to come off without any problems and he is active, entertaining really.  He's not too smart - he jumps at the glass sometimes if you're sitting in the room watching him and I'm waiting for the day he knocks himself clean out.  CJ loves him. 

What made me think of this post was the idea of being a mother to a living creature.  I think that if you are going to be responsible for another living thing, be it a child, a dog, a cat, or even a critter, you have to do it right all the way.  And you have to care enough to do it right all the way.  This means loving them, and feeding them, and taking care of their needs - all the time.  Is it exhausting? You better believe it is!

I struggle daily when I watch living creatures, that have no ability to care for themselves, crumble under the weight of the world.  Sure, this applies to dogs and cats and lizards (insert very depressing commercial with Sarah McLachlan for the ASPCA) but this also applies to kids.  Something I don't think the rest of the world really grasps, or at least America.  State governments are so worried about their test scores that they care very little about their life. I am the first one to say education is important - it matters.  But so does having a parent at home that gives a damn about it - we are people with a bevy of emotions and needs.  

And I know that we, as a society, cannot change the future of our children until we change the parents - but who is willing to do that?  Who is willing to call a parent and say, "Hey - you're child is screwed up and you need to take care of this, you are going to have to be a PARENT.  I do not care if you are tired, or got pregnant by mistake, or are too busy getting high or drunk or you dropped out of school in the 8th grade and are perfectly happy it seems to be dumb as a brick.  You are now the adult and God help us, this child depends on you.  You are going to have to make sure he/she is bathed and clothed and fed every day.  You are going to have to do his/her laundry until you've TAUGHT THEM how to do it themselves THE RIGHT WAY, you are going to have to explain hygiene, bathing, showering, deodorant, and for the love of all that is good and holy in the world, BRUSHING THEIR TEETH TWICE A DAY, you are going to have to love them when they are unlovable, heal them when they are broken, encourage them when the struggle, teach them to read and READ WITH THEM, tuck them in at night, get them up for school in the morning, and every single other teeny tiny little detail in between like paying attention to what they eat so they aren't obese, monitoring their TV activity and gaming so they aren't leaning things they CAN'T UNDERSTAND before their time (and then explaining them the RIGHT WAY when they do), and setting boundaries, limits and expectations for their future and their growth - you are the PARENT, you have to do this.  Stop being a lazy piece of crap and get it together because it's not about YOU anymore, it's about them.  And for goodness sake - stop whining about it in the process."

Do you know who does this all the time?  Teachers, counselors, administrators, educators.  Although our approach is much more eloquent (but don't think the non-eloquent version isn't a running monologue in our heads), do you know what happens? We get yelled at.  I've been yelled at by more parents as an adult than I was ever yelled at by my own parents when I was child.  But then, again, I had actual real live parents that gave a damn about me and my upbringing - I was one of the lucky ones.   Looking back, I can see, they were tired people.  Tired, but proud. 

So, as I ponder all of this I find that no, I'm not offended in any way to be called a lizard's mom.  It is not something I expected to happen, but it did and I'm willing to go the distance to do right by him.  He is a living creature.

My precious little guy rockin' the waves.
I will take my lizard (who could be a beach bum), my baby (who would love to be a beach bum), and my Bahama mama and enjoy being a mom.   Because this is what I signed on to do, and I'm happy about it. 

Life is not the circumstances you are in, it is what you do with the circumstances that matters. 

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