Two Words That Will Take You to the Holy Land of Acceptance

With a list of common things the author is trying to be a little more accepting of

Photo: Richard Ross/Getty Images

Lice will find you, people will hit Reply All and Do Not Call lists are only marginally effective. Oh well.

Dogs will be dogs, every time, in every way. Oh well.

Hemorrhoids and stretch marks are forever. Oh well.

Experts make mistakes and parenting books have limited applicability. Ditto diets. Oh well.

The great love of your life will never stop running a little late, making that sound when he chews and the repeating himself stuff will only get worse. Oh well.

You will never really understand your bank fees or how the Internet router works. Oh well.

Unless you knock yourself out, with the night comes the worry. Oh well.

A lot of people aren’t that into vulnerability. Oh well.

99%* of kids quit playing piano. 87%* ignore their pet. 65%* stop reading books. (*roughly speaking based on zero studies.) Oh well.

Your kids will kiss you in the morning and be seriously despicable to you in the afternoon, even when you’re driving them around the neighborhood they could easily traverse on foot because you are late getting them to Bridget’s house and BRIDGET IS WAITING! Oh well.

It will take you at least a decade to get your children to say Please and Thank You without clearing your throat or holding your hand up to your ear. It will take two decades for them to mean it. Oh well.

Your children will not brush their teeth or wear their retainers. Even after they are old enough to shave their armpits and definitely like boys, they will neglect the most dominant thing on their face, the make or break feature right there in the middle. Oh well.

Your children will be rejected. Oh well.

Your children will fib about eating cookies and lima beans. Come middle school, the lies will get bigger. Like they might tell a group of friends that you and your husband are getting a divorce when really, everything’s fine. Oh well.

Your teenagers will lie about way worse. They will lie, steely like sociopaths, right to your face when you are sitting with your least intimidating posture, begging them to tell you the truth, when you are promising them amnesty if they’ll just tell you what happened at Will’s house. Beseech or holler, dare or whisper, they will lie and if you’re in touch with your own history, you will know exactly why. Oh well.

There will be so much failure. Oh well.

Many things you buy, phones, shirts, piano lessons, will not have been worth it. Many things your children buy will be stupid, like a plastic bracelet from American Eagle that’s called The High Low because, you will be teen-splained, has both sand from the dead sea and dirt from the Himalaya. You will have to watch this happen and then learn later that your child doesn’t order food at brunch with her friends on Saturday mornings because “my parents don’t give me enough money.” Oh well.

Things that were worth buying will be lost, even the most expensive thing you ever bought her, the thing your mother would never have given you for just this reason, the thing you yourself don’t own, the thing you warned her repeatedly not to lose, so much so that you pretty much perverted the joy of receiving a Patagonia fleece into pure anxiety. Oh well.

You have no say in what bits of childhood your kids remember, and no one remembers anything the same. Oh well.

All that is new becomes old, including you. Oh well.

Defects and mutations of all sorts will continue into future generations. Oh well.

Try as you might to have it go down otherwise, you are doing things right now that shape and misshape your children. Oh well.

Your children are leaving, every day moving from dependence to independence at which point, they’ll jump on a one-way train away from the life you made for them and chug off into some better place that’s killer or bitchin or whatever kids say then. Oh well.

Finally, and this might be the most unacceptable thing we must accept, even worse than mere mortality, people we love will have periods of unhappiness and pain, perhaps deep, perhaps long past we thought they were totally fine, doing great and all set, and there will be little-to-nothing we can do to ease their suffering except wait for it to pass which it most likely will.

Oh well.

Kelly Corrigan is the author of four New York Times bestsellers and the host of Kelly Corrigan Wonders. Her first children’s book, Hello World, comes out tomorrow.

New York Times bestselling author, host of new podcast: Kelly Corrigan Wonders and PBS show: Tell Me More with Kelly Corrigan

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