Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Random Musings (or: Heat Gets in My Brain)

It's July. Where did that come from? What happened to the happily middle ground of heat and cold called June? It was cold, rainy, miserable. And now it is unbearably hot. Really? Come on. If you don't believe in climate change, let me just invite you to peruse our spring weather here in the "desert" of Idaho.

My brain tends to go in random directions. So if you're not in a rambling mood, please desist immediately.

It occurred to me yesterday that we spend more of our lives as parents of adults than we do as parents of children. Granted, childhood seems very, very long when you are the befuddled parent of three small children. but now that I've been parenting for almost 22 years, I am really enjoying parenthood more and more. Because the hard part (I hope) is done. They are transitioning into adulthood and doing well at it. They like to hang out with me (mostly because they get free food/laundry/gas if they do, I'm not naive), and I like to hang out with them. So it seems to me that fostering a close and pleasing relationship with our children is the most important thing we can do as parents. Yes, yes, we want to instill in them strong values, a good work ethic, and a drug free lifestyle, but really most of those things are a result of living by our own values. You can't beat that stuff into your children. And no matter what kind of grades they get, if they drink before they turn 21, if they hang out with the wrong crowd, if they don't share your religious or political beliefs--none of that matters in terms of parenting. What matters is can you talk with them as equals? Can you find common interests. Can you stand each other? I can happily answer yes to all these questions. So the future of parenting for me is looking good so far. That makes me feel great. After all, they're the ones who have to take care of me in another 40 or so years.

On a related note, living in a house with a pre-menopausal woman and a nearly 15 year old boy is not always congenial. I have determined that I think 15 is the worst of the teenage years. My son Peter will turn 15 in a couple of months. He is often surly, grouchy, hungry, tired, unmotivated, and irritated by everything. I've been through this twice before, so I don't take it personally, but I'm older now. I'm also tired, irritated by everything, etc. You get the picture. However, at least I have the experience to know that engaging in arguing or pointing fingers does no good. I usually just wait until a better mood finds its way into Peter's psyche. Usually when he's talking about Dr. Who, has been watching comedians, has just had a large caffeinated beverage, or I'm taking him to Burger King. Then I can broach the subject of the pile of crap he needs to do. Nevertheless, we do have a close, similar-interests kind of relationship mentioned above. We both like comedians, camping, and other stuff. So I think we'll make it. Until the hot flashes hit. Then it's every male for himself.

Speaking of males, tomorrow is my oldest brother, Mike's, birthday. He's a LOT older than me, just to clarify. (No offense, I just want to emphasize what's left of my own young years.) So, since I've profiled my mom and dad recently, I think I shall briefly comment on Mike. Mike was always kind of removed from my life as a kid, since he graduated and left home when I was in 4th grade. I do remember his hippie years fondly. How my grandma Ruth commented, upon seeing his long, long curly hair when he returned from Spain, that he looked like a girl. High five, grandma. I remember how he hitchhiked to and from college. My mom worried like crazy. Our family liked to play games like Monopoly, hearts, and Risk. It seemed to me that he always won. He was kind of a ruthless competitor.(Okay, not "kind of." He was a mean ruthless competitor.) Being the little sister, I often finished out these games in tears. He liked to argue. (Who of the McClanahans doesn't like a good argument?) Again, being younger and not as world-wise, I usually ended up in tears. As we got older and I became more liberal in my politics and religious views than Mike, we had a frequently contentious relationship. Even so, he has always been my big brother and I looked up to him. Even if he did royally piss me off. Several years ago, though, Mike made a move to forge a closer brother/sister bond. He reached out to me and began calling once a week. We talk on the phone now more than we ever talked in many years. We still don't agree on quite a few things, but we can manage to talk and share of our lives together. Happy birthday, big brother.

I think that's all my brain power for now. The heat has zapped what else I might have had.

1 comment:

  1. Neysa--For the past few minutes I've been simulataneously procrastinating going off to bed and scanning through many of your delicious posts--and happened to see a Dr.Who reference. Has Peter ever listened to "The Nerdist" podcast? I would recommend it to any Dr.Who lover. (I'm now mildly a Dr.Who fan through osmosis--that's how strong the vibe is, from the guys on the podcast.) I guess I should make a few disclaimers--there's a fair amount of swearing, and, some dirty humor. BUT the host, Chris Hardwick, is, as far as I can tell, just an extremely sweet, nice guy. (One thing that tipped me off on his niceness: he's always commenting on how nice OTHER people are.) So, I guess I'm saying: on the surface, the guys on the podcast might sound rough, but underneath, they seem to be all about being kind.

    Which is all secondary to my main consideration, which is the Dr.Who stuff. They've devoted several episodes to Dr.Who, including some exclusive interviews with actors from the show. And a Neil Gaiman interview in which they discussed an episode that Gaiman wrote.

    Hope Peter's still a fan--would enjoy the podcast, I think! And you'd like the Gaiman interview, I think--discusses writing process and other writing-related issues. (Paul and I sometimes listen to podcasts together, if we're both interested: kinda like old-time gathering round the radio...)

    off to bed now...