It's small, but telling. Your son or daughter looks up at you and in their eyes, the ceramic mug flashes. On it, "World's Best Dad". Or you sit down to look for your other eyeball and "World's Best Mum" embroiders the car seat cover. For foster and step-parents, this is a win. Time to polish your dancing shoes. For those who have spurred the little ones from your own loins, now is the time to reassess.
Kid's say the darndest things, which is code for having a freedom to say and speak of thoughts adults and teenagers spend the next week fretting over. They mumble, they garble, they utter sweet Chthonic verses of no relative basis.
"You're the best parent a kid could ever have" and its variants are empty phrases falling on the ears of parents in a family unit unbroken. It spews forth from the lolly-goggled mouths of babes. As far as the child support and weekend visits would allow you to know, the youngling looking back comes from your own seed. But what of the origins of the comparative label? What rank do you really file under?
Are they seeing another parent or pair of parents behind your back? Possibly. Kids, in their formative years, can disappear anywhere upwards of six to eight hours during a weekday. In this time span they may form attachments with adults outside of your supervision. It's not uncommon for children to accidentally call these people, let's use the term "teachers", mum or dad. They're testing the waters and putting a crayon in their ledger.
The inculcation of parental options is opened by their peers. Swapping stories with their friends, hearing how their parents won't let them do certain piercings or mull over drugs as they lay in their own vomit, and you'd think you have a gallery to size against. But empathy only takes the bridge so far.
In their world and in your head you're the best, around, and nothing's ever going to take you down. Except hubris and complacency. Defrag yourself now. Taking anything those little gremlins say at face value will come around when they unplug the respirator and divvy up the will forged in your name.
Written on Friday, 19 April 2013