It seems like life, sometimes, is one long journey in which you discover that life isn't fair and justice often is just a dream. We raise our kids with the idea that ANYTHING is possible--you can walk on the moon, become president, do anything you put your mind to. And, to a large extent, I believe that's so. But along the way, we all learn that life isn't fair. That poverty and racism or bad breaks or illness or . . . you name it . . . sometimes strike. That life metes out its own unfairness in often random fashion.
And so it is that I often look at my kids and want to delay that lesson. At the same time, I have brought them to the projects with me when I mentored unwed teen moms; they have wrapped Christmas gifts for girls as young as 12 having their SECOND baby. I have done this in matter-of-fact fashion. I have done it because I want to BE the change I want to see in the world, and I want them to believe that though life isn't fair, each citizen can do something--large or small--to even things out. To make the world a little more fair for a child with few chances to escape poverty. I model what I want my children to believe. I model what I want them to someday do themselves.
Like all human beings, I also model horrible days when I am a terrible and mean mother, when I am at the end of my rope, when I am crabby and overtired, and I just don't FEEL like doing five loads of laundry and sewing the new patch in the Ninjitsu uniform.
I suppose that's the "not fair" part. Sometimes, I'm June Cleaver. Sometimes? I'm more like . . . hmm. Psycho mom. (Though somehow I can't picture June Cleaver working in the projects.)
And in a funny lesson of life's not fair? Demon Baby is very underweight. He has what they term "Failure to Thrive." Thus he is to be given butter, fats, whole milk, pudding, ice cream . . . cheese, anything and everything to gain weight. If he wants ice cream and cheese for breakfast and will eat it, he gets it. He has sausage at as many meals as we can fit 'em in. And Older Son and his best friend were sipping diet soda the other day, heading into adolescence and concerned that they stay . . . more trim. And Older Son looked at Demon Baby eating butter on a spoon and said, "You know, life isn't fair sometimes."
And me? Walking four miles a day in the frigid cold right now to get fit, as a woman who looks, well, like a woman whose had four kids, I could only nod and say, "You're right. It's not."