Coloring Books and Crayons

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

When I was growing up, not that I plan to complete the task; how about I change that to read, when I was much younger, sounds about right; well let’s leave that alone and just say I once was a kid. If I had to stay home from school with a cold or something my father would stop on his way home and bring me a coloring book and crayons to make me feel better.

They don’t tell you when you first start your family that being a parent comes with a set of impossible directives to fix any and all situations which plague your children. Many of the challenges are beyond your abilities and so you do the best you can and hope it all works out…eventually.

I remember staying home from elementary school with the Flu and being miserable. There was cough syrup to choke down, aspirin with lots of water and shots from a doctor who actually made house calls; but nothing made me feel better.

I say nothing made me feel better; but that’s not really true. My father came home from work at lunch time and brought a coloring book and a brand new box of crayons hoping it would cheer me up. It’s amazing how something as silly as a coloring book and some crayons work when life hits you hard.

This past week my father came to the realization that it was time to sell his car and stop driving; not an easy choice since that equates to giving up an important function for folks who are fiercely independent. (Gosh, I wonder where that came from?) He can still go anywhere he wants; but now has turned over that task to my mother who considers her skill levels adequate (no, better not go there…for now).

I talked with mom yesterday and they sold the car; didn’t ask what they got for it, but you can be assured whoever obtained it got a great deal and then some. They want to use some of the money to replace old flooring in their kitchen; but the best news for me was that dad decided on his own that it was time make a hard decision and he made it.

I’m wondering if I should send him a coloring book and a box of crayons, not that it will make the hurt go away, the hurt from having to give up something important. I saw an advertisement for a Halloween costume, a pretty woman wearing what looked like a pink crayon; on second thought, better not get that for him. Even if the costume was pink, mom would see red as soon as the ‘crayon’ walked in the door.

Earlier I explained they don’t tell you about impossible directives that are part of being a parent; but there’s more to that thought than meets the eye, or at least that idea occurred to me as I struggle to figure out a way to reach out and make ‘everything better’, all the while knowing there really isn’t much I can do.

Seemingly impossible directives to make ‘everything better’ work both forward and backwards, from parent to child and child to parent with equal weight.

It’s beyond my ability to turn back time with the wave of a magic wand or take away the pains associated with growing old as if fairy dust could restore youth and vigor to my parents. What can I do? I can show them I love them; maybe sending a coloring book and some crayons will brighten up their day, if only for a few moments.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”