Being a parent gives you hard edges. With my 4 year old we’re at the stage where I’m telling her off every few minutes. You almost couldn’t script it better with things I never thought I’d need to say like ‘don’t touch that, put that down, sit up straight, don’t throw that there, pick that up, I’m not your slave’. Repeating myself, over and over and over again. Each day with my daughter is guaranteed to deliver one of two responses…either she can’t hear anything I say and says ‘huh?’ to every request or she becomes unreasonably offended when I won’t do EXACTLY what she wants. It could be spreading out a rug on the floor, looking at the TV in THE RIGHT WAY or getting her dinner. Every slight is an unforgivable insult and most altercations result in wailing tears.
It’s surprisingly hard because honestly if this kid was a co-worker or someone I’d met at a party, I’d give them a piece of my mind and vacate. But of course, I can’t do that, and developing minds deserve to be cut some slack.
But it gives me hard edges. I go to bed feeling tired with my face stuck in a kind of disapproving glare and it takes me a while to soften the edges. Because being sick gives you hard edges too. Always feeling some sort of pain, or not knowing exactly how you can rely on your body, it’s almost like mind and body separate and fight like a 4 yr old and a parent. Pick that up, do that, do more, go that far! But the body dissolves in tears and wails, refusing to do anything.
Do I need to go easy on my body and treat it like a 4 yr old? That seems ridiculous, given what it used to be able to achieve. But what choice do I have? Reluctant 4 yr olds and reluctant bodies are about the same – they simply must be acknowledged and dealt with regularly before attempting to continue with normal life. More to the point it’s probably a reluctant mind. One that doesn’t want to accept the limitations placed on it, one that constantly compares muttering to itself ‘you used to be able to do all this, why can’t you now?’. Is it the mind that needs a break from all the hard edges?