06 October 2011

Work In Progress

Ahh, Facebook. What did we ever do without you?

I was a notorious, longtime Facebook holdout. One of my last friends to actually join the social network. And now it seems ubiquitous and oddly central to my existence. Where I would once log on daily (multiple times) to my email account, I’m now also doing it with Facebook. What did I miss? What did I miss? It has actually changed the world. Or at least, certain aspects of it.

I can still remember the days before I went to college, when I did not have the Internet or email. And now, I can’t imagine not having them in my life every day. As for Facebook, it really does allow you to maintain at least somewhat of a connection with more people than you would have been able to in the past. Or at least, it makes it a lot easier to maintain those connections. Instead of just hearing through the grapevine, several weeks or months later, that an old friend got married, you can instead actually see photos of the event within hours, or even minutes, of it occurring. This especially applies to other people’s kids. A number of my friends have children that I’ve never seen in real life, but I've gotten to see them grow up on the Internets.

And the same goes for the Doozer. Because of Facebook, I've been able to aggressively push his cuteness on all manner of people who have never seen him in person.

Lately, though, as things on Facebook are constantly in a state of flux, I noticed something that I hadn’t before and that may have been there all along, or could be brand-new (with Facebook, you honestly never know). Some time back, I’d added my son’s name and age under the Family section of my profile. Sure, he didn’t have a Facebook account himself for me to connect with, but this still seemed like the thing to do. But then, just the other day I noticed that after his name and age, it says in parentheses, Pending. Pending? What does that mean?

Now, I know it means it’s unconfirmed or something (again, because he doesn’t have his own Facebook page, although I’m sure he will soon enough), but there was something about it that really struck me and got me thinking. Like, Sure, yeah, he’s your kid. Pending board approval. Pending further notice. Pending another review.

It got me thinking that parenthood is one giant experiment, a constant work-in-progress. It’s why I write this, I guess, to try, in some way, to make sense of it all. Because just like Facebook with its constant updates and setting changes, parenthood is a fluid exercise, an evolving process that can look very different from one day to the next.

It’s bewildering. Confusing. Confounding. Stressful. Arbitrary. Both permanent and transitory. Plus, you’re really accountable now. It always feels like there’s some invisible entity or force keeping tabs on you and your every move, grading your performance.

Honestly, it’s kind of terrifying.

Often, you’re the harshest judge of your own parenting skills. And there are times you think your kid should be taken away from you, because you are just not fit to be a parent. Even if I do have the pictures on Facebook to prove that I am. It’s a learning experience.

But I guess, that’s what life is overall, parent or not. But I’m learning. I think. Every day. So is he. We're figuring it out. It may be a work-in-progress, but the work is pretty good.

(Ed. note: This post—as always—is being composed on my MacBook, one of my prized possessions. Thanks, Mr. Jobs. We'll miss you.)

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