Years ago on a planet called California, on a too-busy day with messes accumulating like tangles in a toddler’s hair, I let fly my scolding voice in front of my mother. I aimed my angry zingers at the child who spoke the best English, despite the fact that the up-ended half gallon of juice had been the result of a still wobbly, not-yet-speaking 12 month old grabbing for a table leg to steady himself. The precarious carton slipped over the edge and doused the tan carpet in orange.
I had been lecturing about pairs of shoes that needed to be Out. Of. The. Hallway. I’d been pointing and directing other short people to pick up Legos and get teeth brushed.
The quickly expanding circle of orange stain flipped my switch and I found myself screaming: “I said now!”
My mom, grandmother of the hapless human beings startled into cooperation, quietly observed the scene to me: “Just look at them. They’ve been on the planet fewer than five years. There is so much to learn about living here.”
Crash. Shut down. Reboot.
I’m the adult in the room, I reminded myself.
I’m the one with experience.
I’ve lived on our spinning orb for decades.
Even today, when a 20-something forgets to double check or doesn’t know to follow through or get more information or is surprised by an interruption to plans carefully made, I go back to my mom’s comments. 20 years is a very short time to figure out all the stuff adults are expected to know, do, and be.
A little grace for the newbies on planet earth may be in order today. A little grace for you—newbie to parenting on this glorious good globe.
Cross-posted on facebook.