The fact is that my kids often bug me. People with kids will immediately understand. People who don’t have kids can shut up and go kayaking or do whatever it is that people with free time do. Or, if you care to continue with an open mind, you too can utilize what follows in relation to things that that ruin your plans (It’s raining?!? But you were supposed to go kayaking!) to reimagine difficult things as beautiful things. What I intend to do is give some examples of the way my kids bug me, insert a Carl Jung quote, and make everything sound spiritual so we can all feel better for a minute or two. Sound good? Let’s proceed.
So I’m grocery shopping. I have a list and a mission and all kinds of obstacles: the inability to find things, other shoppers, old people squinting at labels, and the nightmare of self-checkout. (What I did just there is use the self-checkout as a metaphor for how hard it is to look at yourself when you’re constantly blaming others for your problems. That’s the theme here. I just want to make that clear because I love you and I care about you and I think we can grow if we turn our gaze inward.) You would think that, in this mission where you’re grocery shopping against the world, that your kids would be your allies. Why? Because they’re your kids, you’re a family, you’re a team, but, no, your kids are actually grocery shopping’s biggest enemy. This is when my kids bug me.
One. They’re always grabbing things that are NOT ON THE LIST and putting, sneaking, a bunch of crap into the cart. Two. They disappear. The kids simply vanish. And they don’t show up again until you’re in the process of launching a full on Amber Alert. Three. They fight about who gets to push the cart. Four. The winner is just no damn good at navigating a shopping cart. Five. When you finally regain control of the cart, one of your kids is always standing in front of the cart like an old person squinting at a label. Six. They keep repeating what they want. Seven. Someone has to pee. Eight. They want to go home. They want to go home. They want to go home. Twenty-five. My daughter shoplifts candy bars. There. There’s twenty-five ways my kids bug me.
Another way my kids bug me is being young. Their youth shines forth in sharp contrast to my failing eyes and aching back. This is enough, in and of itself, to bug me but the kids aren’t satisfied with merely being young. No. My kids have to rub it in. They make a mockery of me, my age, and my steady decline. They say things like “What’s that creaking? Dad?!? Is that your BONES?” and “Dad? Do you want to be buried or cremated? What should we do with your body?” Reminding me of my mortality bugs me.
Another way my kids bug me is interrupting me when I’m trying to think something. It doesn’t matter what. There’s just a definite luxury in allowing a thought to think itself through to completion without scattering to bits at the sound of “Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad?”. I might be thinking about something I read or what I have to do tomorrow or I might be, beyond thought, indulging in a full fledged fantasy about how the earth is going to explode unless I invent an imaginary form of algebra that leads to equations that explain how to light water on fire and, thus, I save the world because something about lighting water on fire puts a stop to the explosion that threatens all life on earth but NO—”Dad? Dad? Dad?” and, suddenly, my world vanishes as a result of my involuntary response to their world. They barge unbidden into me, yank me into them, and it bugs me.
So this is as good a time as any to insert the cool Carl Jung quote. He said “To this day God is the name by which I designate all things which cross my willful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans and intentions and change the course of my life for better or for worse.”
See? See the spin great minds can put on the things that bug a guy and imbue them with honor? The truth is that I’m a selfish man who’s often too immersed in himself to experience my children as higher powered divine influx; strangers knocking on my door waiting to transform me; others making me otherwise; wise ass upsetters of views, intentions, and plans; little gods who bug me.
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