Ah, parents. They always seem to be telling you what to do, when to come home and who to talk to. Love or loathe them, most of them always seem to have their children's best interests at heart.
Frankly, I never cared for rules - I always thought my parents' rules were dumb. I'm almost certain every little kid and grown adult will agree with me on this.
However, when you are a little child, there is no way to distinguish if the rules are for your own good or not. And when I was a little kid, I really couldn't stand, or obey, my parents' rules.
Of course, parents usually aren't going to let you run around like a wild child and get away with bloody murder. If you did, you were disciplined. In my case, it was with the wooden spoon. Oh, how I hated that wooden spoon.
You see, my dad, (who has since passed on) was a very strict man. Looking back on my childhood, I often wondered if Dad thought he was raising boys or if he knew he had three girls. My sisters and I joke about it to this day.
There were many times I would get sent to my room for saying something "smart-alecky." I would just sit up there "deprived," not knowing what was happening downstairs.
I would literally sit at the top of the steps and yell down to my parents, "Can I come down yet?" I already knew the answer. "No ... not yet," my mom would reply. I would get the same response time and time again. Sitting and waiting, waiting and sitting - wondering when to ask again. If you asked too soon, you had to wait longer. If you were a mind reader and knew precisely when to ask or if you waited long enough, then you were granted access back downstairs.
My mom was always on our side. Obviously, it was girls versus guys in our household, and Dad was majorly outnumbered. Even our dog, Macee, was a girl. Mom would always let us come down before Dad had officially cooled off.
I don't know why I hated sitting upstairs so much. Maybe it was because I was by myself and everyone was downstairs having fun. Perhaps it was because I was only 5 or 6 years old and I was a little scared. Or maybe it was because everyone was outside playing with sidewalk chalk - and I'm upstairs sitting in my room!
No, it couldn't have been that. Sometimes during the lengths of my punishment, my younger sisters also would get in trouble and they would make their way sobbing up the "steps of doom." It was as if my parents would make us walk the plank. "No, please don't make us go upstairs!" we would say. It's rather funny now that I think about it.
My sister Kelley and I were just talking about "being sent upstairs" the other day. "Why did we freak out so much?" she asked. "I love it up here."
Touche. As I grew older, I would much rather be upstairs in my comfy bedroom than downstairs where everything is happening. I don't know if my dad secretly knew that would happen to us, or if he even planned that to happen. But somehow, strangely it did. My sisters and I now love our rooms.
In other words, I'm lazy.
Yet, when I look back at my childhood and all the rules my mom and dad had, I'm so very thankful they raised me the way they did. They raised me with respect, wonderful morals and a great sense of humor. Sure, I still have that smart-alecky wit about me, but that's my personality.
I can only hope and pray that I raise Emma just as well as my parents raised their girls. Sure, she might get mad and hate rules as a little girl, but when she grows up, hopefully she'll appreciate them as much as I do now.
Sentinel staffer Tara Maguire can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.