The Parent Pledge
I write these posts with the full intention of someday sharing them with my girls. I think it will be a small peace offering when they slowly start melding together the fact that I have no baby books for them, no sweet journal entries or letters I’ve dampened with my tears while writing to them, none of those fancy picture frames that hold their school picture for each grade level of school, and no wall markings that show how tall they were at every age. I can only imagine the reaction I will get when they discover that the only effort I’ve made at preserving their childhood brilliance is in the form of a few snarky blog posts. Regardless, Evan and Lulu this one is for you.
Despite good intentions, best efforts, and all the praying/wishing/thinking/luck in the world, every child will at some point in their life decide that everything they’ve done wrong is their parents fault. I’m going to try to save my kids a lot of soul searching and money on counseling sessions by just fessing up when something actually is my fault. Here’s one I’ll add to the tally sheet.
Right after starting Kindergarten Evan was riding in the back of my car on the way to the library and we passed by an American Flag. Without missing a beat she burst into the most patriotic, soulful, five-year old version of “The Pledge of Allegiance” that you can imagine. Complete with murdering the pronunciation of indivisible and shouting with fully fueled lungs the last line of “WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!”. I sat stunned. It was such a complex feeling to hear a five year old pledge their allegiance to something knowing full well that she had no comprehension about what that meant. Not to mention that what she was pledging to was a flag. Surely a symbol for more, yes, but nonetheless… a flag.
“Uh, wow. You, um, know the Pledge of Allegiance, Ev” I stammered. “Yep!” she cheerily replied. “We have to say it every day”. And this is where the conversation might have took a turn for the worse. Because sometimes in conversations that involve things I’m not fully comfortable with (ie. cheerleading, princesses, war, capitalism, Barbie and apparently the Pledge of Allegiance) I snap. I turn into a child myself and spew together non-nonsensical sentences that sound like “No you can’t have a Barbie. Why? Because Barbie is an awful person. She kills innocent people, walks on the back of the nations poorest individuals, and partakes in a sport that leads to a lot of eating disorders”. See… I know my reasoning for feeling passionately about the things I feel passionately about, but when I try to translate it into kid speak it gets all jumbled up and ends up sounding awful. So my response lacked any trace of grace or even logic, and I believe I said “because they can’t make you”. Wow. How’s that for a fake answer? I think I went on to elaborate a bit saying that the Pledge of Allegiance was kinda a big deal, like religion, and something that I wanted her to be able to decide on herself when she gets older. Or maybe that’s just what I wish I would have said.
I honestly don’t remember. It was months ago. I didn’t think for a second Ev was actually going to do anything with that information. I really just wanted her to know that it’s not something she HAS to do. That would actually defeat the purpose of having liberty, and justice for all written in there. I also wanted her to know that pledging yourself to something is quite the commitment. Especially when that something is made up of changing elected officials. I can’t think of much that I WOULD pledge my allegiance to except my children, my loved ones, and on certain days a good pair of cowboy boots.
Fast forward to yesterday. Call from Evan’s Kindergarten teacher #245 for the school year. (OK, not really, but it seems as thought lately Kindergarten is not really her “thing”). It turns out that since that day I had that conversation with Evan, she has been refusing to say the Pledge at school. Her teacher explains that she’s fine with that. She asked Evan why and she replied “My mom says I don’t have to”. WHEW. So glad that’s what she got out of the conversation and not “my mom says Barbie is the root of all evils and she wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in her shiny Barbie notepad”. Kindergarten Teacher goes on to explain that then several months ago Ev decided she doesn’t want to stand up during the Pledge if she’s not going to be saying it. Teacher said she was also fine with that. Then she goes on to say that in the last week Evan has taken it up a notch. Now she’s trying to convince other kids not to say or stand for the Pledge, and instead to play a game with her during that time.
Oh. My. Goodness. My kid is organizing.
So, I need a new Pledge for myself. Clearly I botched this conversation up so badly that I am now raising a small Union Thug. (Which actually makes me quite proud and causes me to inappropriately laugh during teacher phone calls).
So Evan and Lulu, here is a pledge I can commit to.
I Pledge Allegiance to the two of you, to my family, my friends, and to my fellow human kind throughout the world. One people, standing together, for liberty and justice for ALL. (Even gay people. I think sometimes that needs to be added in since “all” doesn’t really mean “all” quite often around here).
Also I pledge to you to try to communicate things better and be more honest with you. Even though Lulu is a pathological liar right now who screams at me that she is not supposed to go to school until 26:00 and “pwomises the very truth that her mouth is not stained blue from candy”. I’ll try to not sink to your level.
So… Barbie didn’t really write the Pledge of Allegiance. Are you happy now?
Love you girls. Sorry for the lack of information. Keep on keeping on with your crazy haired ways.
Yeah, it’s never easy being a parent. I watch from the sidelines and marvel at the things that kids ask, and then I wonder what I’d say if I had a child. I have no idea. Thanks for sharing another funny story.
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