So yesterday, on the occasion of White Space’s birthday, I decided to make a new set of resolutions to usher in the studio’s “new” year. I suppose parents are often provoked to be better persons on behalf of their progeny, and I’m not particularly original in this regard.
The first resolution was to temper my increasing tendency to be hypercritical. The more overwhelmed I feel (by traffic, by work, by the sheer business of living), the less I’m inclined to be magnanimous. And when I don’t make an effort to be kind, literally everything becomes a target for my withering scorn.
So I decided that while I couldn’t curb my thoughts (just yet), I could curb my tongue. In effect, if I had nothing else to say apart from censure, condemnation or criticism, then I would simply hold my tongue.
The result, rather unsurprisingly, was that I was uncharacteristically quiet for most of the day. At one point in the afternoon, while sharing a car ride with Abbey and our good friends Peter and Tria, Peter looked at me in the rearview mirror in the midst of a spirited discussion on Filipino driving foibles and observed: “You’re surprisingly silent.”
Somewhat miserably, I replied: “I have nothing good to say in this particular conversation.”
Abbey added, somewhat gleefully: “It’s her new resolution. She can’t say anything nasty and now she’s mostly quiet.” And just like that, I became the target of their provocations for the remainder of the evening.
And so the challenge of parenting continues.