I Dont Just Touch Myself

This weekend, in a fit of frustration and fury, my teenaged daughter slammed the car door and stormed off, aggravated that I wouldn't let her do something all of her friends get to do.

"When I grow up and have kids, I hope I'm nothing like you!" she hurled at me like an invisible snowball to my ego.

While at the time, I rolled my eyes and chalked the moment up to over-dramatic hormones and blind ignorance to the fact I am saving herself from herself even if she has yet to realize it, I wondered just what type of mother the child I'm raising will be.

Surely my mother expected better from me, after pouring years of tears and love on me. Not once, I'm sure, did my mother suspect I'd morph into a tattooed, pierced Christian liberal who thought it would be wholly acceptable to teach my children the words to the Divinyls "I touch Myself" when explaining what masturbation meant.

Heck, I'm fairly certain my mother never thought that the prissy little girl who refused to let her mother buy her training bras would even breathe the word masturbation out loud let alone explain what it meant to her own offspring.

How are my children going to fare with me steering the helm of their self-development? Will they follow in my footsteps and buck all types of traditionalism and embrace non-conformity the way I can't seem to stop? Or will they instead look back at their crazy ass mother and shudder while striving to put three home cooked balanced meals on the table at regular intervals while lecturing about the evils of body modification and how sarcasm is the lowest form of wit?

It's not like I go out of my way to step off the beaten track. I just seem to have a really low attention span and get distracted by life and find myself lost in the forest of parenting, struggling to get back on the road every other adult around me seems to safely navigate.

Like my parents did, as I'm sure their parents did, and parents before that, I put my children first. Always. But unlike some parents, I seem to be unconcerned with what society deems socially correct and instead pattern my decisions on what feels right to me and not what is popular or trendy or even conservative.

Every choice I have made, from the foods I purchase, the career I choose to the jewellery I put in my nose have been made after considering how my choices will impact my children.

I believe as a mother, every choice I make has to be transparent; has to be made with my children's best interests in mind. But that doesn't mean I'm going to make choices my children or society as a whole are going to like.

I'm such a non-conformist. Snicker. When I feed my kids macaroni and cheese I'm going to be sure it comes out of the box with the brand name. Not that cheap discount crap. Heh.

This doesn't make me a hipster parent, or a neglectful mother. It makes me a self-aware parent who is doing the very best to give her children the tools I believe my children will need to succeed at life.

If I chose to embrace nudity and enjoy an evening of skinny dipping with my kids or streak through the kitchen stark naked to answer the phone, I'm not doing it just because I've ignored the mountain of laundry sitting in a pile on the laundry room floor or because I can't stand having to dig underwear that creeps into my arse crack umpteen times a day due to my expanding ass size; it means that I want my children to see the beauty of the human body and not be ashamed or self-conscious with their own.

Will my children feel this way when they have children? I don't know. That's between them and their spouses and their children. But for my nuclear family, for my husband who has a proclivity for walking around in only his tighty whiteys, it feels right. Normal.

My daughter may never choose to celebrate her son's twelfth birthday by piling a bunch of mouthy little twelve year old boys into a vehicle, paying what amounts to a small mortgage for movie tickets and popcorn just so her son can cover his eyes and grimace over bodily fluids oozing out a zombie while his friends high-five one another and whisper, "that was soooo cool!" But I hope she'll remember the time I willingly sat through Twilight while poking my eye with a straw, all so she and her friends could swoon over an overly-effeminate sparkly vampire who wears his man panties too tight.

When my children are old enough to have children, I know they will be able to look back and understand the choices I have made as a parent and appreciate the lessons those choices have taught them.

If I followed the advice and constructs of parenthood that their relatives and friend's parents wished I did, they would never have known the joy of what it means to wholly accept and love a sibling with disabilities. They'd never have learned the magic of watching a child explore the world using only his chin and tongue, or learn how laying down in a puddle of sunlight with a child who can't talk, walk or see can open doors to one another's heart.

My children will grow into parents who will make their own choices. I hope, with every wish I will ever make, they never have to face some of the choices their father and I had to make. I hope they never have to choose between spending time with a child in the hospital or the children waiting at home. I hope they never have to decide what to put on their child's gravestone or what words to say to explain why their kid's worlds have been shattered beyond repair and why they won't get to grow up with their brother and instead will have to grow up with a yoke of grief forever around their hearts.

My parenting is unconventional because it's had to be from early on. I had children young, some would say too young, and then brought home a child who defied conventional parenting while their siblings were too young to know any better. I've had to watch my children walk a path most grown ups never face all the while trying to keep my children as children for as long as possible.

So my son and my daughter may not parent like I do. They may not let their kids invite half the neighbourhood over to spend the night under the summer stars so that later on in the night they can sneak outside to see which child they can frighten the most by pretending to be a bear.

My kids may not let their children stay up too late to read under the covers while I pretend not to notice their lamps on, or buy them a slurpee everytime they go to the gas station.

I chose to do this because my children lost a large part of their childhood the moment they buried their brother. I'm doing everything I can to give what I can of that back to them. All the while trying to teach them it is okay to be different, to think outside the box and to march to your own tune if that is what it takes to help get you to your destination.

I hope my children don't grow up to parent the same way as I do, or have to make the same choices I've had to.

I really hope they look back on their own childhood and know that I did the very best I could, with what I had around and within me, to give them the very best they deserve. All children deserve that.

If they choose a more traditional way of rearing their own children, I will stand back and support their choices. Not everyone wants to use Meatloaf's Paradise by the Dashboard Lights as a cautionary tale for premarital sex.

Heck, they may even figure out a better way to teach their own children to remember to bring their lunch than showing up at their school wearing fuzzy slippers, a navy blue robe and blue curlers in their hair and asking for a big sloppy kiss in front of their entire class before handing over the forgotten food.

What can I say? I'm not perfect. But I totally rocked that lesson out of the ballpark in a way they aren't likely to foreget anytime soon.

So I don't mind when my children hope to be a different type of parent than I am. Because I am always going to be the grandmother who sneaks cookies to her grandbabies and singing about how I'm not afraid to Wear My Sunglasses At Night and how I'm not afraid to Push It while showing them the finer points of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and how real vampires don't sparkle.

So Fric, you be any kind of parent you want to be. Because you'll always have me to figure out a way to make Stroke It a life lesson.

*Today's post brought to you by cheesy music from my childhood. You are welcome.*