Robert Frost was a genius. A road diverged in the woods…you pick a path and that has made all the difference.
Let us think about that for a moment. Think of times in your life, both pivotal and just regular mundane times, when you had a choice to make and you picked one thing over the other. Did you ever think what the outcome would be if you had made the other choice? Are we just not supposed to think about that at all? Did taking the road less traveled really make all the difference? (Google Robert Frost and the literary reference will make more sense.)
There was the one summer when Son #1 decided he was going to be a goalie. Of course he made this decision when he was already up in camp and didn’t have any of the equipment. To those not familiar with this concept, and this was before the magic of FaceTime, when you could go shopping with your kids even if they weren’t really there, hockey goalies require a lot of stuff. Knee pads, arm pads, blocking things, a special stick — it’s gads of fun. Then you factor in a kid who is small for his age, and who’s a lefty. Then it’s even more fun.
The majority of my summer was spent going to and from Modell’s, dropping the stuff off with the good-natured soul who went up to camp every week to see his wife, then having the poor guy bring back the stuff that didn’t fit, go back to Modell’s, and start all over again with a different size pad and a different stick. That was the kind of mom I was.
But let’s say I just decided to say, “No way, Son #1, you should have decided that you wanted to play goalie before you went to camp.” What would have happened then? Would the whole trajectory of his life been different? No idea.
Husband #1 and I made the conscious decision to send our monkeys to a coed camp ( I guess you could say we chose the path to the left, ha ha). We did this because we wanted them to know that not all females were nuts like their mother. Was this the right decision? We thought so. We could have saved a ton of money sending them to an all-boys camp, and in the end, well, if you know my boys, you know what they are like now… So what would have happened if we did send them to an all-boys camp? Would they be covered in tattoos and riding in a motorcycle gang now? Would they be professional bank robbers? We will never know.
And then my favorite parenting story. My three monkeys all had braces at the same time. This was fun for many reasons. The many, many Friday afternoons spent at Dr. Frankowitz’s office. The cost. And did I mention all those hours at the office?
Well, one Friday afternoon the kids were not behaving. Quite frankly, they were embarrassing me, and I lost my patience with them. I got up and told the kids I was leaving and they had to walk home. I was done. Even with the very judgmental mother who was sitting in the waiting room at the time, I was finished with the three precious beings whom I had brought into the world. I got into my car and left them to fend for themselves.
Now, before you go calling child services, they were fine. They had each other, they knew how to walk home, and I had to teach them some kind of lesson — you would think. I ended up picking them up only a few blocks away. What would have happened if I hadn’t? If I decided actually to follow through with a punishment? Would they be listening to me now when I weigh in on their life choices? Does the judgmental mother from the waiting room that day have kids who continue to be perfect and do everything that their parents tell them to do?
Do kids like that even exist?????
That is the thing about making choices and choosing paths. You make the choice, you hope it’s the right one, and you hope that down the line, it doesn’t come back to bite you in the tush — or, in my case, wear a black hat. But even if it does, you still love them and hope they realize that you always want what is best for them, even if it isn’t a path you would want to take yourself.
Ahh, the joy of parenting..
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is very excited that her sister is coming in this weekend to take her and her mother to the Van Gogh exhibit.