Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

As your sons, in my case, begin to grow up and spread their wings it is one of the hardest parts of being a parent. And people telling you doesn’t prepare you. You have to learn it on you own.

Both of my sons still live at home. But they have their driver’s licenses. And so I no longer have to drive them to karate or baseball or marching band. I don’t have to drop them off at their friends’ homes, or set up play dates. They do all of this themselves now.

They drive themselves to work, to college classes, or to high school. And I am so proud of the young men that they are. And I am so grateful that they are here and no significant harm has ever come to them.

But this is hard. Letting them go and start to really walk on their own. Learning to walk and watching them as they toddled around the living room with baby gates to protect them was the easy part. Watching them use their two feet to take them so far in life even at these young adult ages is the hard part.

Oh how I love my sons.

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Sadness, heartache, grief, worry, concern, some more sadness, frustration, anger, are all emotions and feelings I have had as a parent.  I worry about my sons everyday and everyday they find new ways to give me attitude.They are experts at that now and deliver it with such finesse they should offer training workshops on it for other kids.  They always seem to know just how to dig in and make my heart weep just a little bit.  The angry “I know, Mom” response is probably my favorite because it’s rife with the conflict they are feeling.  They do know I am right, and they hate it.  They do know that they know better, and they hate that probably more than they hate me being right.  They get so frustrated that they forgot to make the better choice again.

So I pray every morning on the way to work that they will have good experiences at school each day.  They will make the better choice when facing tricky situations.  They will remember that they are 11 and 9 and should be having fun in their childhoods and not take it too seriously.

They don’t call me anymore after school.  They are too big for that.  Which means when I get home around 6:15 we get to have the conflict about homework, again.  I wish I could make them have the realization that they could have their homework done by 4:30 if they choose to, but I can’t.  So that means resistance when I get home since I want it completed and they want to keep riding their razor ripstiks.  Only one of us can win this battle, and it usually is me, and this is a battle to win.  Smaller ones I let go because the adage is true, you have to choose your battles.

Because at the end of the day, when they are asleep in their beds, and you can still see the baby inside the boy, parenting sucks a little more love into your heart, and it sucks a little more breath away as you listen to them breathe.  Parenting sucks a little bit of cynicism out of your system every day as you listen to their conversations, without them knowing because jeez, Mom, you wouldn’t understand, and you hear the optimism coming from their minds and souls.  It sucks a little bit of your learned prejudices and behaviors out of your system as you remember that these are learned aspects of life.  It sucks a little bit of the tiredness you feel after working all week and infuses you with energy to see their smiles when they wake up in the morning, thinking of the important things in life: playing with Legos, riding a skateboard, staring at the clouds, making your cat dance, picking a flavor of ice cream at White Dotte, arguing who is better, Iron Man or Spiderman, and creating magical treasures using only glue, yarn, and popsicle sticks.  These are some of the secrets they don’t tell you about parenting.

That and the amazingly high number of times you will hear the word “poop” in a day.

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I’m not an expert and this comes purely from curiosity as I listen to many discussions and conversations sparked by the recent tragedy.  I just wonder about this.

Has anyone ever looked at the timing of the following three shifts in America.  The increase of women in the workplace (and thus no parent at home with the kids); the decrease in our students’ test scores (and the increase in students’ apathetic approach to education); and the increase in school/societal violence.

Now before your panties get in a bunch, I said women in the workplace because I’m referring to the feminist movement and the increase of women in the workplace that happened in the 70s-80s specifically.  When the term “latch-key kid” came into existence.  When cable and video games became convenient babysitters.

And before your panties get even more bunched, I don’t care who comprises the family.  I’m talking about having parents who actively raise their own children.  Parents who work together to have someone home with the children after school, during school vacations, to help parent them.  Monitor what the children are watching, playing, and doing after they finish their homework.  Heck, making sure the children finished their homework, reviewed for the test, and asked the questions that were still lingering about that day’s lessons.

Hubby and I each work two jobs.  But one of us is always home with our sons.  This takes a lot of careful and creative scheduling.  It requires sacrifices.  But we want to raise our sons.  We want to help them with their homework, take them to baseball practice.  We want them to learn what compassion, integrity, kindness, responsibility, and so many other values are.  We want to share in the many emotions they feel and will feel as they grow up.  We want to struggle with them as they work through challenges.  We want to help them develop into the young men they are quickly becoming.  I’ve digressed…but as it is for so many right now, my thoughts are swirling.

Still, I just wonder if there is any correlation in the timing of those things.

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Fair warning…I am writing about Christmas.  If you do not celebrate this holiday, I am not writing this to offend you, but merely to exercise my right to be a Christian and celebrate my faith.  So if it bothers you when a Christian uses her right to freedom of religion now is a good time to stop reading so you don’t get angry at me.

That said-we watched Muppet Christmas Carol twice today.  I’m watching the Monk Christmas episodes and will begin baking cookies very soon.  Tomorrow evening we’ll go to church for the Christmas Eve service.  It’s one of my favorite services of the year.  During the minutes when the church is lit only by candles and we sing “Silent Night” I am filled with a feeling like no other.  When we get home, the boys will listen to Scott read the “Night Before Christmas” and I’ll take their picture next to the empty stockings.  They’ll be tucked into bed and then the fun really begins.

As Santa works, he always watches the marathon of A Christmas Story.  After about the fourth go-around, he gets to go to bed.  This year Santa tagged everything in advance so perhaps Santa will only see the movie three times before collapsing into bed.  Last thing Santa does before falling into bed is adding the baby Jesus to the Nativity set.  The Wise Men don’t come out till Epiphany so they still get to hang out for a couple of weeks.

One of the things I love about this time of year is the wonderful sense of antici…pation.  I love reflecting on the birth of Jesus.  With the birth of each of my sons I was completely overwhelmed with emotion, thoughts, questions, answers.  My entire world changed.  How must it have felt to give birth to the Savior?  I cannot fathom.  The strength and faith that resided within Mary are levels that I will most likely never have, but I try.  The whole concept of grace and parenting fills my daily thoughts.  To let your child grow into his own potential.  To provide guidance, support, and respect so he knows he can figure out who he is and make good choices.  To fill his days with love and faith and grace.  To help him make the memories that will shape his future.  Oh, the joy of parenting is heightened at this time of year.  The anticipation I felt with each pregnancy, wondering if the baby would be a boy or girl, wondering what the baby would look like.  This time of year always brings back those memories as I think about the anticipation Mary must have felt.  Every mother feels it, but I would presume it may have been heightened for her.

And the anticipation in the children is fantastic.  It’s harder to focus on some things, but their focus on waiting for Christmas morning is solid.  While this young, more of the focus does fall to the big guy in red, but the moments my sons have shared with me as they have thought about the birth of Jesus warm my heart.  They have asked more detail questions this year than previous years.  They’ve wondered if it was warm or cold, what kinds of animals were there, how long did it take the Wise Men to get there, why did they bring gifts, is that why we get gifts, so many questions.  I answer as best as I can.  The only thing I do is try to not destroy their sense of wonder.

May your Christmas celebration be filled with the love Mary and Joseph felt that wonderful day.  May the spirit of God fill your heart and soul.  May you make beautiful memories with your families and friends.  Happy Christmas!

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