Learning to be a Bad Parent Takes Time

Camp is a second home

On a rainy Tuesday, here’s the news: the boy is back from camp. He had a marvelous time. It’s delightful to have him back, but honestly, I was so sure he’d be in camp heaven it was easy to have him away. In fact, even though he’s delightful to have around, it was nice to miss him a little and to see how much his small sister soaked up the pace that could be hers—rather than the trying to keep up one she tends to keep (a frustrating exercise in pacing quite often). I enjoyed feeling relaxed about his absence.

The teenagers are gainfully occupied. The little girl anticipates kindergarten with some excitement, some sadness, and some considerable nervousness. “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other’s gold,” she sings—often. “The circle’s round; it has no end. That’s how I’m going to be your friend.” Loud and clear, I get it. Today, we played with another new-to-kindergarten classmate. Saskia wasn’t the world’s greatest host.

My parent to a fourth child moment came when I found myself not all that fussed by her less-than-accommodating behavior. She is where she is. That’s okay. It’s not a reflection upon her being a bad kid or my being a bad parent. People, this has only taken me nearly 18 years to accomplish!

The sign out sheet for our very last day of preschool *ever*

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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