Social media has a way of taking up our time and filling it full of mindless junk, but it still occasionally provides a nugget of gold.
I’m not sure how it happened, but I stumbled last week across a series of everyday pictures on the British Royal Family. I really could care less about the monarchy. I’m not a fan. I pay attention to them as much as I pay attention to The Real Housewives of Orange County or any other sensationalistic reality show, I know they exist, I know they have a large fan base, but I’m not one of them.
However, a picture of Kate Middleton, wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, pulled me out whatever I was doing and instantly took me back in time. The picture was of Kate and her two-year-old daughter, Princess Charlotte. In the shot, Kate looks like she’s had it. Who knows if that really was the case? Kate could have been trying to make a point or even playing a game. In any event, I choose to believe that Kate isn’t all that different from the rest of us parents, reached her breaking point and threatened the young princess with a necessary “time-out.”
My kids are long past time-out chairs and 1-2-3 warnings. I mention sending them to their room and we all have a good laugh. I grab my sons arms to look him in the eyes and I’m the one looking up.
Despite the passing of time, I can certainly relate to Kate’s dilemma. With that one picture, my mind took me back to any number of times when I was exhausted from work or family commitments and the challenges of parenting had become enough.
Another time, another place
I closed my eyes and remembered the time when I was back in a local grocery store trying to explain to my daughter — now in college, but in my mind a sprite two-years-old — why Mommy might let her walk on her own when they go to the grocery store, but I needed her to stay in the cart, because we needed to get something quick and get on the way again.
I dare you. No, I double dare you. Go ahead, try explaining errands to a toddler with other so-called more important things on her mind. Let’s just say Daddy wasn’t the cool one that day. In the Dr. Seuss book, How the Grinch stole Christmas, the Grinch transforms from a mean-old grouch into a caring benefactor. In my daughter’s eyes, at least that day, I went from the favorite man in her life to the mean ole Grinch. Oh well.
I remembered another time when my son was crying at a work holiday event. With gritted teeth, I told him that I was sorry the circus clown didn’t stop to talk to us, but I needed him to be a good boy. Yea, that one worked out well too.
And yes, I remembered another shopping trip with my youngest son, where I looked down at him and questioned if he really wanted to test me. He, of course, all of three or four-years-old looked-up at me with his doe-like eyes and asked, “Daddy, what does testing mean.”
Coming out on the other side
Yes, I’ve had a few public parental moments — some good, where I patiently and caringly explained how I needed my kids to behave and other not so great moments where I lost my patience and fell into every bad father trap known to man — but it was still nice to see that other parents, even someone like Princess Kate, has them too.
My kids are older now. We long got rid of our time-out chair. I think I might have broke it trying to use it as a stool to reach a bowl in the top most shelf and things have certainly changed, but in many ways they’re still the same. We still have our occasional disagreements, but thank goodness for strong kids who may not always follow their father’s advice, but still respect and listen to him.