My kids are very different.
Paige arrived to this world 11 days late and has been keeping us waiting ever since. Deciding what to wear, what to order, what to pick out of the fridge for a snack and which invitation to accept when given two options can be an excruciating process. At times my frustration is born out of the fact that her options haven’t changed much since the last laborious decision. For example, Starbucks rarely mixes up their menu. You either want the marble cake or the Madeline’s, so why is it taking so damn long to order? There’s a stressed out business man behind us that needs a vente, no-whip, caramel-machiato, pronto. Hurry up before he freaks out and we die.
Due to her inability to make snap decisions we feel responsible to society to steer her away from particular professions such as air traffic controlling, emergency medicine and short order cooking. If you ever clutch your chest, fall to the ground and look up to see my daughter standing over you — know that you’re fucked. Big time.
Jarin is the opposite. Arriving 3 days early to this world, she’ll tell you flat out what she wants when she wants it without batting an eyelash. Ask her a second time to verify her choice and she gets pissed off and shoots you the of course I know what I want and how dare you question me look. Sadly, I will also steer her away from a career in emergency medicine as her inability to analyze and deeply assess a situation would probably result in a ton of malpractice litigation.
I feel like I’m raising the Chinese Yin/Yang symbol. Jarin my sunny, yang, body centered, me-centered, outgoing youngest child versus Paige my moon-like, yin, cerebral, empathetic, milder, introspective child. At times I feel manic-depressive, trying to switch my energies to match the kid that needs me at the time. I’m either trying to calm down Ms. Yang or build up Ms. Yin. Needless to say, I did a back flip on Monday when they left for school. It’s exhausting some days trying to keep the balance in this house.
The symbol illustrates how yin and yang aren’t merely opposites but more importantly, complimentary energies. Since neither can exist separately, each must flow into and arise from the other. My hope is that like the two dots in the symbol above, a little of Paige will infiltrate Jarin and a tad bit of Jarin will influence Paige and over time a balance will be achieved.
In the meantime I’m trying to teach these opposing energies to be respectful and even reverent to one another. To illustrate this concept to them after a particularly bad morning of fighting I used nature as an example. I told Jarin she was like the sun. Everyone loves the sun and it provides us the energy to grow our food and positively affects our mood, yet get too much and you get burned – or die from skin cancer. Sunny is super, but partly cloudy on occasion isn’t so bad either.
The moon with it’s tide-controlling gravitational pull was at one point the only night light besides fire. Yet it’s a sneaky, little shape-shifter that goes from covert to overt on a monthly basis. Some nights you can’t even find it or it’s just a fraction of it’s actual size and brilliance. Some folks may not have the time or patience to coax the moon into her “bigness”.
I really thought it was going to be a sitcom-like parenting moment where we solved the problem in 30 minutes right after which my kids would apologize for being shitty then link arms and skip outside to play. Instead Paige looked at my like I was crazy and Jarin burst into tears wondering why she had to be the bad thing that hurt everyone….Nice.
Hell, maybe they wont influence each other at all. Maybe these opposites were sent my way to teach me how to create balance in this house and ultimately in my life. Perhaps. But regardless I’ll work on that next week. For now, you kids get the hell out of my house and go to school for Christ’s sake. Let me refresh and refuel and I’ll go back to parenting right after Labor Day. Promise.