WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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Moving Differently

bristol motor speedway.jpg

My parents are coming to visit this week.  I look forward to their brief, rare visits, but they aren’t always easy.  We usually encounter some difference in our ways of moving about the world, and instead of letting this be a simple fact, we turn it into a slight or irritation.

My mother is particularly perplexed by my husband’s involvement and interest in domestic matters.  Although she recognizes his behavior’s benefits for the children and me, it’s different enough from her own experience to give her the willies. 

My parents’ roles were clearly demarcated between the domestic (Mother) and financial (Daddy) and they deferred to one another accordingly.  No wonder she finds my parenting consults with my husband annoying (sometimes I do).  Likewise, the idea he gets buy-in regarding paint colors gives her apoplexy (we’re in full agreement here).

Still, my parents did have occasions of crossover.  When she would hit her limit, Mother demanded Daddy figure out how to independently handle his progeny.  To his credit, he met these challenges, albeit with differential success.

Take, for example, when I was 8.  Mother needed a break so Daddy took me to a special showing of Tommy, The Who’s rock opera.  Nightmares of the Acid Queen haunted me for years and I still get antsy when I hear a Tina Turner song. 

Other times Daddy came out swimmingly.  Once he got season tickets to the Bristol 500.  He was pleased as punch with himself for giving Mother Sundays to herself via a cultural, educational opportunity for his children.  It was a triple win.  Daddy’s trackside seats made conversation impossible.  Mother got a full day of mahjong with her cronies.  My siblings and I had material aplenty for Monday homeroom.

Who knows what we’ll reckon with during this visit . . . . It’s apt to be the puppies we recently acquired.  Mother isn’t one for puppies and certainly not for two of them at once.  Regardless of the topic, we’ll probably have the opportunity to notice again how we choose to move differently through this life.  I hope we’ll also notice the ways we move in sync and, even better, our great, gorgeous willingness to meet the challenges of being different together.

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Photo Credit:  Diaz, Raniel.  (August 27, 2013).  Bristol Motor Speedway – In the Dark of Night.  Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/ranieldiaz/9611864890

Whitney Cain