I was driving to the store to get a paper yesterday and I passed a sign at the church up the road.  It said, A Parent’s Life is a Child’s Manual.

I thought it profound but I had three kids in the car, screaming at each other for some reason or another and forgot about it.  I managed them in the store, I am getting pretty good at it, and on the way home passed the sign again.

“A Parent’s Life is a Child’s Manual

It hit me with a kind of jolt that this is a completely true and shaming statement.  True because I do see how my life is mimicked in my children, and shameful because I see how my life is mimicked in my children.

If my life is what my children are watching to create one for themselves, I am a little screwed, let’s be honest!  I am cranky, moody, and short tempered at times.  I can be totally unreasonable most of the time, and really don’t do well when I don’t get my way.  Which seems to be all the time.  I am a little on the insecure side, tend to look to others for self confidence…  hello blog… and often need reassurance that I am doing a better job than I know I am.

I am neat to a fault, as in it is my fault the house is not neat …refer to afore mentioned blog…  and I will put things off until the very last minute if I don’t want to do them.  I throw adult temper tantrums, which are now known as “meltdowns” since I am not in diapers anymore, and I find other people that are like me to be incredibly annoying.

I approach everyday with a plan and watch it implode with a bit of humor.  I start making excuses for why things don’t get done about 30 seconds after I wake up in the morning, and I am scarily attached to the shows about arrogant, over- achievers like “Flipping Out” and “Dora”.  I daydream myself into oblivion and can not remember my next thought.

But, I suppose, if someone is going to write their manuals, I should have some say.

After all, – excuse me, I have to unbutton my shirt so my feathers can spill out in boastfulness – I am not so bad.  I have a big heart and I adore my children.  When they are dirty, when they are whiny, when they are defiant.  I adore them.  Would lay myself on a bed of nails, set afire by the beasts of life – I told you I daydream, geesh – so that they would never feel a prick of pain in their entire lives.

I wear my heart on my sleeve, no matter how I would like to hide it in the safety of my chest.  One of the things my husband liked – it may have changed – about me was that there was never any doubt how I felt about him because I wore it for the world to see.  I still do.  I consider it an asset.  And so does he…  it tells him when he’d better be home with flowers!

I am proud.  Of who I am, what I have built, and who I have chosen to build it with.  It has taken many years, but I finally live my own life for me.  And my husband, and my children.  And my God.

I respect and admire my friends and feel honored to have anyone who touches my life in it.  I try not to take anyone for granted, and think that appreciating others leads to a deeper appreciation of yourself.  I say please, thank you, your welcome, and bless you.  And I am sorry.  Especially when I am.  Which is often, because I am also kind of a klutz.

I guess it is not so bad if my life is their teacher.  Maybe with a few edits and rewrites here and there, I could actually have a few New York Times best sellers.  Especially if I use contributors.  I think some of the best lessons are learned from those who walk in and then walk out, leaving only a footprint of knowledge…  but a lifetime of knowing.

And if I welcome every sentence, every page, and every chapter, with the dignity and grace that I try to maintain constantly, I bet I can be proud one day that my life was my child’s manual.