If you have a kid or two or six, then you know that parenting and sacrifice go hand in hand. Things that are sacred to you, are just another curiosity or plaything to the sticky little grabby-grabby hands that seem to have been everywhere and yet are currently nowhere. The longer I'm a parent, the more I'm convinced that people claim to love their kids so much because as the years go on they've had everything completely destroyed that ever competed for their love and attention. There's nothing left to compare them to, so kids win. It's not their fault, it's their nature. My car which has somehow survived hail, 180,000 miles, and years of public parking lots, now has cart and bike scars along it's sides. Chris's scrapbooks have been manhandled during fits of rage. Cat's have been dangled over the second floor railing, Rugs have been thrown up on, the list goes on and you probably have one of your own. . Somehow, they even reach into the intangible and steal things away. Time, financial stability, sanity, and relationships with other adults all seem to vaporize.
So there's a significant amount of 'growing up' that happens to people that thought they were already grown up because they had jobs and spouses and mortgages. They thought they were mature, until some kid comes along and breaks their toys. You work through it as best you can, though, but I think the best thing you can do is know what your trigger points are and prepare yourself for their inevitable demise. At least try to consider the possibility that what you hold dear may indeed vaporize. Ask yourself, "What would I do if ___ was gone." and if the answer is, "I don't know, I think I'd just fall apart," then you better start thinking about Plan B. I know a family who had a custom stained glass window ruined by rough-housing teenagers. If *I* had made that window, oh there would have been blood. They somehow had more mature priorities and shrugged it off.
Chris and I have done our best to detach ourselves from all but our deepest and most essential "earthly delights." (Yes, I have Ben & Jerry's hidden in an organic burrito box in the freezer) But sometimes you just get blindsided and an accident can feel personal.
I had this conversation over the phone with my wife the other night...
Chris: Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I think we're going to get more back from taxes than we originally thought.
Me: I'm glad to hear it. Since you're in a good mood, are you ready for some bad news?
C: Why, what happened?
M: Well, our StarWars Lego game for the Wii is gone.
C: What happened to the disc? Did it get scratched?
M: Nothing, the disc is fine. Our saved game. It's gone.
C: WHAT?! You've got to be kidding me!
C: What happened?
M: Well, I didn't see it but I know someone was kabitzing around in the menus when he was told he couldn't 'play' wii before dinner.
C: And he deleted our game?
M: All the games were wiped.
C: ARE YOU SERIOUS!?
M: I found the memory options and I asked him if he had seen that menu before. He said yes, but that he just clicked 'back.'
C: Uh-huh. Unbelievable. Does he know what he did?
M: I think so. He's taking it pretty hard.
C: Well do you know what this means? I think it means no more wii for several days. He's GOT to stop clicking around in places he doesn't understand!
M: I don't know... I think what it means is that we should have bought a memory card last week to back up our stuff. The saved game is gone. There's not much to really do about it now.
C: Lee. We were 12 percent completed!!! (note: that's about 6 hours of play time) That's totally unacceptable! He's got to learn!
M: Um... when did I marry a 15 year old boy?
C: Why aren't you more upset about this?
M: Because this happened at 12 percent and not 80. It just means we get to run through Hoth again and this time we'll know what we're doing.
C: I guess that's true. But why does he have to do that? Why does...
M: Let it go honey. It's only a game. Let it go. Aren't you at church now?
M: Good. Stay there until you calm down.