Thursday, August 6, 2009

The burden- and joy and responsibility- of protecting.

Let me start this by saying I just returned from grocery shopping with both girls, which means 1) I am exhausted, 2) I am a wee bit cranky and 3) I have been badgered for the last 45 minutes.

After our trip to the grocery store, I started thinking about the food that I just bought for my family. Is it healthy enough? Fun enough? Enough to last us a few days? Combine that with the fact that I am finishing up reading In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, which is a companion book of sorts to The Omnivore's Dilemma and both have greatly impacted my views of food, shopping for food, what I eat and what I serve to my children and husband. I highly recommend both books.

Then, because I am tired and cranky and listening to Michaela watch TV (iCarly on Nickelodeon)at about 50 decibels as I put a roast chicken in the oven for dinner tonight, I started thinking about how much the world throws at our children and we as parents have to defend them, protect them and serve as a somewhat battered protection from the storm.

And you know what?

Today- just right now, in fact- I am tired of protecting them.

Today I just wish the world was kinder, healthier, gentler and quieter.

I am tired of defending my kids against foods that are marketed directly to them and contain nothing but sugar and fat. I am tired of being vigilant about all the things they eat. I am tired of saying no to potato chips, fruit snacks, and ice cream. (And just for the record, I do allow them to eat these things on occasion... I am a big believer in nothing being forbidden fruit.) I am tired of always suggesting a piece of fruit when they say they are hungry. I am tired of being worried about them becoming an obesity statistic.

I am tired of defending my kids against media, especially television. I am tired of loud, overstimulating shows that are exciting for seven year olds to watch. I am tired of Hannah Montana, iCarly, the Wizards of Waverly Place, and all the other pre-pubescent girls who are part of the Disney/Nickelodeon machine who have virtually no chance of developing into emotionally healthy adults.

I am tired of the clothing being offered to my girls being too short, too skimpy, too grown up and too expensive.

I am tired of being on the lookout for grown men who may somehow see my babies as fantasy objects.

I am tired of defending against bad drivers, lax mothers and absent parents who may somehow, directly or indirectly, injure my child.

I am tired of worrying about someone stealing my children. I am tired of abduction stories, tearful interviews with missing children's families, the inevitable discovery of the body and the "how could this happen??" examinations. I am especially tired of hearing what these sick, sick people do to these poor children.

I think I am watching too much Nancy Grace on HLN.

I am also tired of hearing people wax rhapsodic about the good old days, when kids could ride their bikes all day in the summer and be kids and play and explore the local woods and ride the buses and subways and go to Yankees games alone. There's always this slight undertone to it, like I'm the freak who supervises my children instead of letting them explore the world. It's a different time now, and I am not willing to risk my kids' safety to prove a point. We'll do crafts and go to programs at the local library together, thank you very much.

I am tired of Internet porn being out there, I am tired of identity theft issues and I am tired of feeling someone, somewhere, right around the corner, is out to get me.

I am tired of being worried about my own safety and the possibility that someone will kidnap me and cut my baby out of my stomach and claim him as their own. (Okay, I don't really worry about that too much, but I'm on a roll here.) I do know that when a woman is pregnant, it is the most dangerous time of her life- crazy boyfriends apparently really groove on killing their pregnant girlfriends, and that sort of skews the statistics. I don't think I'm really in any danger here with Dan.

But do you get what I'm saying? All this evil danger lurking out there, and I'm just tired today of battling the tide.

Just for the record, I am also tired of my hips hurting, my stomach contracting, my ankles swelling, and my sleep being interrupted. I am tired of being pregnant.


Tomorrow is a day closer to delivery day. I am preparing a healthy meal for my family, which we will all sit down together tonight to enjoy. I am incredibly blessed with two active, fun girls who are healthy and happy. I am about to be thrice blessed with a son. I have a husband who is a wonderful partner in all of this protecting and who completely supports all of my efforts.

Later tonight, I will feel more rested and ready to resume the vigilant fight.

But for right now, Michaela can eat as many Trix yogurts as she wants while watching Tom and Jerry on TV in our room. And I'm going to sit on the couch and eat M&M's 'til I feel like puking.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes parenting feels like a lonely you're a voice crying in the wilderness, but never forget you're NOT alone....and there's always M&Ms! Love, LW

Anonymous said...

WOW! I think I can relate to what you are saying-the world seems like such a dangerous place and when that brings me down, I focus on my own little world and the joy my family, friends, and faith bring me. I think it is easier to focus on that when one is nearly 62 and has no little ones to directly protect. I just think if someone hurt my babies (big and small) I would not be a nice person to deal with. We are all blessed to live in a wonderful country and community. The kids will survive some junk food because you balance it out with wonderful and nutritious food. Tomorrow is another day AND the VBS closing program-yeah! Love, Mommy

Em said...

And that right there is why I can no longer watch or consume the news. Too much sensationalism and I freak out over each and every bit of it. Oh, and that is why my poor nerdy kids only get to watch PBS. It's not perfect, but at least there's fewer commercials.

Kind of makes you want to live in the middle of nowhere, doesn't it?