What sucks? Being stuck in the airport with a delayed flight. What’s worse? When it’s 22 degrees where you’re stuck and 80 degrees where you’re going. Right now I’m grounded in Dayton, due to a blizzard in Atlanta (?), on my way to Miami. Wait, hold the phone. I just talked to the pilot and he was telling me how there is no real storm, just an expectation of a storm in Atlanta. Apparently they only have so many de-icing machines at the Atlanta airport since there isn’t often snow down yonder. So…when it looks like there could be snow, they begin to slow down air traffic. But today there is no snow. So we’re slowed down. For nothing. I won’t be too dramatic about it though because the truth of it all is that my schedule today consists of a waterfront cocktail reception at the Epic Hotel and then Cuban food somewhere in Little Havana. But fuck…who wants to miss those things? Sucks.
Hey…but what sucks less? Getting upgraded to first class. YES. Now while I wait, rather calmly after my upgrade, I’m watching Dr. Phil. It’s an episode about enabling parents of drug addicted kids. I’m sitting in the bar, along with all the other stranded nomads, so I can’t hear everything that’s being said. But it’s at least clear that it isn’t this family’s first go round on the show, and that whatever went on last time to deal with their oxycontin addicted teenager didn’t work. Actually the kid isn’t even on the show. Rather, Dr. Phil is digging into the parents and their (lack of) parenting strategies. Good for him.
As a parent, you watch other parents more than you did before (if you ever did at all). One thing I’ve noticed is that some moms and dads simply don’t know what to do, don’t know how to connect with their kids…so they do nothing. Maybe their parents never connected with them so the whole concept is foreign to them. I don’t really get it. I mean, I know what it is…I just don’t know why. I am all up in my kids’ grills because I want to connect with them, I want them to connect with me and I want to make life a great experience for them. I see myself as the single most important determinant and resource for their entire existence. Why doesn’t everyone think that? How do you teach it? No idea.
Not knowing what to do for a kid can lead to damaging outcomes, no doubt about it. But not knowing what to do is far different than another brand of parenting I have seen as well; some parents simply won’t do anything; they have limits. They feel entitled to living their adult life in a way that’s pleasing for them and they don’t like that experience being infringed upon. When push comes to shove with their kids, they ain’t getting their hands dirty. Sad. Strike that. Failure.
I am constantly reviewing my childhood and in particular the tactics my family used to teach me things or to deal with situations I got into. Could have been them coming and sitting in class with me multiple times when I was screwing off. Could have been the groundings they implemented and never buckled on. Could have been a thousand things. Did they do everything right? Who knows. Maybe not given this high school photo my dad took of me drinking Budweisers with two bikini-clad hookers on the beach in San Diego. But what does ‘right’ even mean? If a parent’s primary function is to prepare a child to exist and flourish when the parent is no longer around then I would say whatever my folks did has ended me up in a good place. I can work. I can teach my kids values. I think about things and how to be better. Mission accomplished. And my broader point of this rambling paragraph is that I don’t believe there was anything my parents wouldn’t have done to get me on track if ever I ran off the rails…which I did…multiple times. They didn’t always know what to do, but there was no lack of effort. They did what they knew best and they weren’t afraid to dig in, even if it imposed on them. Which I did. Often.
Whoa…no more Dr. Phil. Some military guy just had the bartender change the channel to the Olympics. Heh heh heh…too funny. I am so not manly. In fact, I am so not manly that there is no way I will ever let anyone know I have been watching and writing about Dr. Phil for the last five minutes.
I’m in Miami now. With a quick ability to befriend the people nobody befriends (airline staff) and some artful assertion I got on another flight that was already leaving…priority status…before anyone else was even allowed to board. Heh heh heh. What didn’t dawn on me during my hour and a half of first class gloating was that my bags have no idea where I am and though I miss them terribly, I don’t know where they are either. So…the choice once I landed was to go to the hotel and wait for my bags to arrive some time between 9 and 11pm, or wait an hour and a half for them to come to me. Great. Same flight I was supposed to be on is bringing them. Turns out I didn’t get a jump on anything other than my frame of mind. But here is a picture from my room, so take that, angry self.