Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Practical Parenting

Being the best parent you can possibly be is not always easy. You have the best intent and the imagination but have just too much to juggle to translate thought to action - at least as quickly as you would like. One daddy goes the extra mile to make the coolest brown-bag in the class for this kid. Last week, J was down with a cold and went to bed directly after coming home from daycare in the evening.

The house looked like a mess and would take a good hour to set right. Before falling asleep, she had mumbled what she wanted for dinner - her favorite Bengali comfort food. That would take some cooking - in normal circumstances I would have tried to finish up the mismatched leftovers in the fridge but that was not an option today.

In the ideal world, I would have straightened the house first - J visibly lights up when chaos is replaced by order and is eager to assist in making things right and neat. I would have cooked her the meal she wanted, put on her favorite music, lighted the candles on the table, given her a warm sponge bath, changed her and then sat down to dinner. It would have perked her up, made her happy despite not feeling well. That look of surprise on her face mingled with joy would have made the effort entirely worthwhile.

In real life, I left the chaos around the house alone knowing she was hungry, fixed her dinner, sat beside her in her bed with and fed her while she was still half asleep. I tucked her back in and she went back to sleep peacefully her stomach full. To J, that evening with blend in the blur of our humdrum life - unremarkable in every way. Had I been able to pull off what I had wanted to, it might have become a memorable day in childhood. Such opportunities come often to a parent's life - they are faced with the choice of getting the job done in a practical, sensible way or going the extra mile like the brown bag dad and creating the stuff of beautiful memories.

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