The crazy thing about being a parent is that you started out this whole overly optimistic project by believing some idylic nonsense about "happily ever after". Somewhere between the notions of "her pomegranates will satisfy you always" and "His eyes are like doves by the water streams" all that symbolism just sort of got to you. All those flocks of new shorn goats mingled with the mhrrh and honey and HOLY SHA-MOLEY the lilies and saffron began to procreate!
Right about that time, you and he emerged from the mountain haunts of the leopards and became fully aware of some other realities. Little goats and doves all over the place. Dripping snot and poo and yelling for chocolate milk and monster cookies.
What the -----?! Time to wake on up and smell the saffron.
Here's where the mama-idealists skip ahead to the whole Proverbs 31 thing. They trade in their two gazelles for a business degree, do a little sewing on the side, and pass up the wine and milk for running out and planting a little vineyard for her and hers. Apparently right about the time she comes in with a cluster of grapes, she can expect her children to rise up and call her blessed. Her husband will want for nothing.
Now, what separates me from the people who seem to have made this transition smoothly? The serene ones who spend time doing sand art and cooking with their children-- those parents who start insisting on good manners by the age of four hours instead of waiting til the beasts are 12, then yelling at them to SMARTEN UP! ?
I think I spent Waaaaaaaaaaaay to much time in that leopard cave admiring rods of gold set with chrysolite. By the time I had fully exited and my eyes adjusted to the new lighting, I think I just went into full blown shock. The kiddies were wild little animals. The closest we'd come to the proverbian formula was for the kids to rise up on one elbow and call out for more blessed popcorn.
Its hard to tell if Mr happily-ever-after is still mesmerized by the nectar of my pomegranates when I'm gently reminding him about garbage day and occasionally letting words like "selfish bastard" escape through my clenched teeth. The teeth that used to look like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing.
Maybe its time to make these passages more relevant to present time. Maybe the best we can do is dress in purple lounge suits (with lycra) and throw some wool or flax into the occasional frozen casserole. Maybe instead of watching over the affairs of our households and not eating the bread of idleness, we could snack on mojos and gingerbread whilst watching Entertainment Tonight and tut-tutting over the bad people having illicit affairs.
Our children will become so disillusioned by the mistakes that we make, that they will rebel. Their elbows will come off the table. They will look adults in the eye, smile, and say "please" and "thank you". They will always stay fully alert, never confusing a human for a dove washed in milk, or a lilly dripping with myrrh. Then when they grow up and pro-create, we can sit back and strengthen ourselves with raisins, exhausted from leaping across mountains and bounding over hills like gazelles and young stags.