One of the great love affairs in my lifetime has been the one I have with my city, Los Angeles. I love living here, I love it’s brief history and I love parts of this city that few other people seem to care about. So when LA Noir was released I was one of the first to grab a copy, not the first, but one of the first.
I put the kids to bed and then ran downstairs to pop it into the Playstation and proceeded to play so horrendously it was laughable. With my siren running I drove the police car on sidewalks, and when I meant to ask passers-by questions I punched them instead. I was a very very bad cop.
The second day was better. I was no longer plowing down citizens and I seldom punched them, but I’d have been fired from anyone’s force. There was a bank robbery and a good bit of blood and shooting, but I still wasn’t seeing why it was rated M.
I remembered that my friend Laurie had a copy of the game so I called her up and asked her why I couldn’t let my kids play. Thus far it wasn’t exactly a wholesome game, but I didn’t see why it needed to be kept under lock and key.
“Oh no you can’t let your kids play. A friend of mine wrote a review of it and she was talking about a crime scence where a woman’s dress was pulled up over her waist and you could see pubic hair.”
“Yikes, I don’t need Alexander seeing that.”
“That’s not all, then when you investigate there’s anal bruising and semen analysis.” Laurie gave me a few more details but I was busy hyperventilating at the thought that I’d nearly handed my son the controller so that he could help me not drive on sidewalks.
Then we started talking about the usual stuff, parenting, work, marriage. I started to tell Laurie how I felt badly that I’m not going out much at night anymore, that I’m skipping BlogHer and other similar conferences. I told her that I needed to be home with my kids and that my work days with them seem to be starting at 3pm these days.
Plain as day she said, “Of course you do.”
And really that was all I needed to just collapse. Because when your kids are a little bigger it’s easy to let people tell you that you don’t need to be home with them. It’s easy to feel like they’re okay on their own, and they very well may be okay.
But okay is different than good, and Jane and Alexander didn’t stop needing parenting when they learned to make their own snacks, and just because Jane can be left home alone doesn’t mean she should be left. So when you feel conflicted about parenting, mothering, and marriage go call a girlfriend because four words might be all you need.