breadI was in the grocery store the other day. I was buying a few things and getting lunch, enjoying the freedom of being on my own while the boy is in school, when it hit me: my kid is kind of great and I’m a pretty okay parent. I should probably back up a little and explain how I got to that conclusion, so I will start with a screaming child. Not just a child who screams, but a child in the midst of a full-blown nuclear armageddon melt down screaming fit.

Mrs. Portmandia and I have taken a fairly careful approach to child rearing. It may not appear like it to some, as we aren’t particularly strict and our son often does as he pleases. We do pay attention to how our family dynamic is playing out and make course corrections as necessary. Our goal is for all three of us to be happy and healthy. That isn’t always an easy balancing act, and sometimes that does mean that one of us has to do things that we don’t want to do in the short-term, but the long-term picture is more important anyway.

As this impacts the little man, we try to impress upon him the importance of cleaning up after oneself. By that I don’t only mean cleaning up his room at the end of the day or throwing away his trash, but also being pleasant to our friends and caring for others. He sometimes struggles with personal space, but as a whole he is a tidy and polite child.

We also work on talking out our differences, as opposed to getting angry with each other and fighting. We compromise a lot. Now that the boy is in school, the goal is to get him to apply those same lessons when he has conflict with other kids. There has been some friction, but some things have already been learned. Already he understands that sometimes it’s better just to walk away or talk to an adult.

All of this ruminating did start at the grocery store. That screaming child that got me thinking, wanted bread. Yep, the little girl was screaming herself hoarse over a loaf of bread. How a child gets to that behavior, I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you that it renewed my appreciation for my son.

There are times that his anger has the teenager-like melodrama: storming off to his room and slamming the door, but very rarely that uncontrolled anger. That little girl haunted me. Actually it wasn’t so much that she haunted me, but followed me, as she and her mother left the store and walked in the same direction I was headed.

This is a lot of rambling to get back around to the point, that I am quite thankful for the little man and happy that the work that his mother and I have put in is paying off. Much of parenting feels like a crap shoot. You do the best you can to put mojo on the dice, but in the end it feels so random, and the victories seem capricious.

It’s worth it though. Also, I’m really glad that wasn’t my kid in the grocery store screaming for bread.