A parent's eye view offers a whole new perspective

Staff ColumnistJuly 2, 2013 

Call it fate, karma or just plain justice: The older I get, the more I realize I was wrong about some of my past assumptions and actions.

So I’d like to take this opportunity to offer up a few apologies.

To just about everybody I worked with before I was a parent: I’m sorry that I got annoyed when you didn’t come to work because your kids were sick.

There were many times that I honestly didn’t mind – I was usually able to pick up a few extra shifts a month, especially when I was a cashier and many of my coworkers were single moms.

But there also were times I thought you were scamming sick time or keeping your kids home for mere sniffles.

Well, they say what goes around comes around. I’ve now spent many a day in doctors’ waiting rooms and at home with puking kids.

I understand now that the world stops when your kid is sick or injured, and that parents never have enough sick leave to use frivolously.

And for those who think my former attitude was unforgivable, you might take comfort to know that one particular week, all three of my kids came down with a 24-hour stomach bug on separate days. And by the end of the week, I finally caught it, too.

To my parents: I’m sorry for all of the times I cringed when you called me “the baby.” I’m pretty sure our youngest child will cringe at that reference as well.

To my youngest son: I’m sorry that I got irritated when you whined about your arms being sore for about a week from vaccinations. I knew they hurt for a few days, but after the fourth day, I began to suspect your complaints were for extra attention and ice cream.

I recently had a Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis vaccine, and guess what? I would have whined about my arm hurting for a week, too, but my coworkers, friends and husband stopped listening to me around day 3.

At one point, my arm was so stiff I could barely move it. Then I did what any normal American would do – I read some really scary information on the Internet about vaccines.

I was fairly sure that I had developed tetanus and that I was probably only hours away from lock jaw. And one of the sites said that muscle stiffness could continue for up to 10 days and that really freaked me out!

Anyway, I took the advice from another website and exercised, stretched and lifted weights with the sore arm. Once everything stopped feeling like torture, my arm actually felt a little better.

To the drivers of large sport utility vehicles, mini vans and other kid-hauling rigs: I’m sorry for presuming that you were a bad driver when you couldn’t park between two lines.

Last fall, we bought a seven-seat SUV, and I joined the bad parking club.

I can’t believe how difficult it is to park my vehicle. I’m dreading the day I’ll have to parallel park it – even with the built-in sensors and computer screen that’s supposed to provide parking assistance.

Just a few weeks ago, I told a friend about how I’d straightened my SUV four times in the school parking lot before giving up, and she said, “Well, you know those lines are crooked.”

To the random parent spotted at the mall about 10 years ago: I’m sorry for gasping and whispering with my husband when we saw your toddler son wearing a leash.

We had never seen such a contraption, and we were pretty sure it was child abuse. After all, we, too, had a toddler – our angelic daughter – and why couldn’t you have been more like us and just held your son’s hand in the mall, anyway?

Well, guess what we purchased a few years later, after our oldest son, who was a toddler, slipped out of my hand and ran into the street while I was holding his little brother in my arms?

The packaging said “Toddler Tether” but even if it had said leash, we would have bought it to keep our son safe, and ignored the glares of inexperienced parents.

Staff writer Lisa Pemberton is one busy mama with three young children. Reach her at 360-754-5433 or lpemberton@theolympian.com.

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