There are things I do well. The Pony, for instance. I can dance a Pony to make white go-go boots blush. Also: Whistle. I’m a sick whistler. Crazy. I can’t think of anything else just now but there are definitely — surely — things I’m really, really good at.
Rare, though, is the moment I feel proficient at parenting. It’s not false modesty when I say the task just doesn’t come naturally to me; sometimes I have to fight my most basic instincts to keep from earning the Abominable Mommy of the Year award (and if you feel this way, too, I’d love to hear from you; if you don’t, please keep it to yourself).
So when my 11-year-old got mad at the television remote last weekend and flung it across the living room, accidentally assassinating his dad’s new flatscreen TV — the only TV in our house, during (oh god) football season — I wasn’t sure what to do.
We didn’t witness the crime; he did it right before leaving for a friend’s house. His little brother ratted him out. The good news was we had time to thoughtfully plot a response rather than reacting to the emotions flooding our guts and skittering across our faces: shock, disappointment, and a frustration that teetered on rage — the same feeling that had cracked the darn screen to begin with and thus proven an ineffective problem-solver.