SoCS and JustJoJan Day 14 – The Joy of Parenting

Parenting is a fun, terrible, wild ride of ups and downs and unexpected turns.  My favorite part of watching my kids grow is how they have become their own unique person.

I don’t know what it is about moving into this house, but I feel like I have more moments with my kids… like this morning sitting at the breakfast table (we had a table in the townhouse, but it was in such a cramped area that only one or two people could sit down at one time).  It was just me and the boys and we were laughing and joking around.  I missed those moments!

I’m constantly amazed at how different each child is, and yet they share so many similar qualities.  I’d like to think they each got an artistic flare from me – Jaxon loves to draw and takes amazing pictures; Adelle is attending a school dedicated to the arts, learning to build sets for theater (and really any type of performance); and Andru is my storyteller.  It’s amazing that it is all art but all so different at the same time.

I could sit and lament the fact that I was going through my dark times during their childhood so I don’t remember much, but I’m not going to do that.  While those moments were difficult and I’m lucky to still be here, those moments also shaped who I am today.  And I’m here now, enjoying each moment with my kids, as much as I can.

I posted the other day that I only just realized that my boys can actually do things, like lift heavy boxes and drill a shelf in the garage.  I didn’t really appreciate that at all until my surgery.  Actually, it happened before that when we were moving.  Jaxon was such a huge help and he continues to help make my life just a little bit easier.  When Adelle was here a few weeks ago, I called to let them know I was on my way home and she offered to start dinner!  It’s weird to think my daughter cooks!

As much as I love that my kids are growing and becoming more and more independent, sometimes I still think of them as children who need me to take care of them.  I’m still trying to hold onto those moments where I cook breakfast for them and do their laundry…. that might sound strange, but I enjoy doing things for them and it’s hard to think that they don’t really need me for any of those things anymore.

It’s exciting to watch them grow, but I can’t help but think that soon enough, it will just be me and my partner.  Best enjoy their company while I can, right?


Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Just Jot It January are both hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt is “a word that starts with the letter P”.

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SoCS – Defying Age

In the past few months I’ve been contemplating age.  Not so much my age, but my children.  I don’t know how it happened, but my youngest is just finishing his last year in elementary school, my daughter is going to be 21 this year, and Jaxon will turn 16 on Monday.

I’m assuming all parents feel this way, but I ask myself all the time, “How is it possible I have a 21 year old?”  Especially when I don’t necessarily feel older.

I don’t think it helped that I had a doctor’s appointment this week where my only ailment was a sore hip.  To make matters worse, the doctor’s assistant was a younger man who looked like he couldn’t be more than 12 (I really debated calling him a man here… I probably should have said kid).  I don’t know why I felt awkward having him take my vitals and ask me questions.  He was just really odd and I still haven’t gotten past how young he looked.

I guess the only saving grace is that my hip problems are most likely running related and I’m supposed to go to physical therapy.  Young people have physical therapy too, especially active people, so that didn’t make me feel as old.

Age is a strange thing, isn’t it?  It’s so weird to think that I have memories from 30 years ago…

We were watching Blacklist the other night and (I’m sorry, this is probably going to be a spoiler, but I’ll leave names out so you won’t necessarily know who I’m speaking about?) it was revealed that two of the characters were mother and son.  The Mom looked like she couldn’t be more than 40 and the son looked like he was in his 30s.  So we spent a good ten minutes trying to figure out if the show was just being ridiculous or if it could really be possible.  Probably one of the saddest things I said was that the lines around her face could have put her at 50, but I’m not sure I believed the man was 28.

Anyway, it’s strange how age affects some people but not others.  I think it’s probably to someone’s credit that they can pass for different ages.

My daughter told me a few days ago that me and and my sister have aged really well and we still look like we’re in our thirties.  I pretty much love her to death for saying that!

I didn’t think I’d ever find myself in this position, to contemplate age.  But, I also realize that age is a form that can have preassigned meanings, but they really only apply if we let them.  There was a 71 year old guy who just made it to top four of Survivor and he rocked it!  I only hope I’m that active when I’m older.  I definitely cringe from the thought of spending days on the couch, watching TV and crocheting my days away for the simple reason that I’m just old.

I want to take my grand-kids to concerts and run a 5K and hike!  I’m going to rock the later years… you just wait and watch me!


This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G. Hill. Start your post with a two-letter word. End it with a two-letter word for bonus points. Have fun!  Please feel free to click the link and join in the fun.

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SoCS – Apparently, being a parent is hard

I don’t know why I’m stumped on this one.  Maybe it’s because I always talk about my kids and being a parent and it’s hard to just sit here and expound on thoughts and ideas I present all the time.  Or maybe I’m just making excuses.  It’s not like I don’t have ideas.  I’ve been sitting here thinking about it for a good half hour.  I think it’s more that there are too many ideas and I don’t even know where to start…

I was thinking about when Adelle was young.  She was always so independent.  I remember having battles with her as early as two or three about what she was going to wear.  How crazy is that?  Does it matter what she wears?  I can’t even remember why we argued… I think it’s because she had so many cute clothes and I liked them and wanted her to wear them, but she wanted to dress herself.  Why did I feel the need to argue with her about it?

Sometimes I believe that parents have issues with their children because they have ideas about what they should or shouldn’t be doing and rather than letting their children make decisions and learn, they try to force their own ideas on them.  I get that children need guidance along the way, but I also get that parents have a hard time letting go.

Adelle has said many times that she never got away with anything and Andru gets away with everything.  The sad reality is, I changed how I was parenting when Adelle was a little older, so she wasn’t able to reap the benefits of it at an early age.

I know some parents believe that if they let go, children will run wild, but my children are well-balanced and I haven’t had to deal with the teenage “horrors” that many parents worry about.

Children are human beings with thoughts and ideas all their own.  I believe they deserve our respect just like any other human being.  I dislike it when people condescend to me or talk down to me, but I’ve always disliked it, even when I was “a child”.  No one wants to feel like they are “less” than someone else, especially when that is based purely on age.

I love my children.  I love being a Mom.  It’s hard to find the right balance sometimes and I worry that I’m not doing it right or that I’m failing.  But it’s not like there’s a parent handbook out there… There isn’t a child handbook either.  So, maybe we should all be a little more forgiving, a little more understanding and let go just a little bit and allow our children to be human beings.

Happy Saturday everyone!

 


This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G. Hill.  Today’s prompt was “apparent/a parent.”  Use either one or both. You choose. Enjoy! Please feel free to click the link and join in the fun.

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Friday Fictioneers – Just to See Her Smile

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PHOTO PROMPT © 
Sean Fallon

I can’t hold still and the jar almost drops.  It’s heavy.  Almost bigger than I am.  Don’t know how I made it into the kitchen.

“Mama, I made a game.  Wanna play?”

She doesn’t look up.  She’s sad again, but this will make her happy.  I just know it!

“Look, Mama.”  I take two more steps and try and try to lift it, but disaster strikes.

There’s glass everywhere.  And batteries.  Instead of making Mama smile, she’s screaming.  At me.  Like Daddy does to her.

I bow my head.  Maybe I deserve it.

I just wanted to see her smile.


Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction prompt where we are given a photo and asked to write a 100 word story – beginning, middle and end. This one came in at 100 words.

Click on the blue froggy to read other amazing 100-word stories!

My Parenting Style

I received an email this morning from a pretty great friend. She sent me a link to Donald Miller’s blog and the post titled Great Parents Do This Well with her own words: “Me thinks you already do this… hence the great kids you have!”

First of all, I just want to publicly thank her for making me feel special today. I’m usually pretty down on myself for my own perceived lack of parenting abilities and to have someone tell me they think I’m a great parent is a bit overwhelming but actually kind of cool.

Second, I just want to say that the post she sent me is worth reading, so I suggest you click on the link because the rest of my post refers to it. I will admit that I’ve never heard of Donald Miller. I will also openly admit I’m not Christian and tend to stay away from Christian-related literature. A lot of that is from my own childhood and the pain associated with trying to fit a certain religious mold and never quite measuring up. I do realize there are great Christian authors out there and I’m doing myself a disservice by avoiding them; but I’m thinking baby steps are perfectly okay in this area.

I didn’t set out to be the type of parent who shows her weaknesses to her children. I started my parenting years in much the same way I was parented; trying to control everything and doing things because it was the “right” thing to do rather than what I thought was best for me and my child. “Right” is a subjective word anyway. What is the “right” way to parent? I don’t know that anyone really has an answer. I think we all tend to do what we think is “right” and hope for the best, which is all anyone can ask for.

But…

I’m not sure when the “right” way to parent became, “I’m your parent and I’ve already learned all those things so I know better than you what is best for you,” or “My child can’t see my weaknesses because I need to raise a healthy, happy child and if they don’t see how much I’ve screwed up, maybe they will avoid it.”

I was somewhere in my early teens when I was at my Grandmother’s house and she showed me and my siblings a picture of my Dad. He was pretty upset that she showed us the picture, but it still makes me wonder to this day why he didn’t tell us the things we saw in that picture. I believe his words could have bridged a huge gap. Perhaps I would have seen my Dad as slightly more human and maybe a little less of the rigid authoritarian figure he was. I would have perhaps understood his decision to turn to religion and his willingness for us to have religion in our lives as well. I understand it wouldn’t have been easy to share those things with us. Who wants others to know hard truths about them? Who willingly shares that?

I didn’t so much make a parenting choice as one was forced on me by my own weaknesses in life. As many of you know, I have depression and there have been times in my life when it was worse than others. When my children were small was one of those times and it was difficult to hide from them. I thought I hid a lot of it from them, but now that Adelle is older, she has told me that I didn’t keep as much as I thought from them. So, I can’t really take credit for showing them weaknesses that they saw or were a part of even when I was trying to keep them from it.

However, I did make a conscious choice when my daughter was around twelve to close the gap between mother and child. I believe to this day if I hadn’t done that, I would have lost her. I decided I would rather be more her friend and a part of her life than a parent and not even know her. Is it a balancing act? Yes. Is it harder to parent that way? Sometimes. Is it worth it? It was and is for me.

My children see me cry, not just at sad movies or at funerals, but on bad days when I’m crying for no reason. They ask questions and I don’t always tell them everything, but they do hear me say, “I’m just having a bad day.” When they ask me questions, I answer them honestly. Sometimes this has been embarrassing and difficult, but I believe they learn, even from the embarrassment. I’ve told them the mistakes I’ve made in life. I tell them the mistakes I make now. They will learn it one way or another, why not from their mom?

I’m not afraid to admit when I’m wrong. I have apologized to my children for raising my voice or when I’ve been angry. I change my mind. I think it was just yesterday that Andru asked me if he could do something and I said no. He asked me why and I honestly couldn’t think of a reason why. So I said, “You know what? Go ahead. I don’t know why I said no.”

Children are human beings. As parents, it shouldn’t be okay for us to take their humanity away just because they are in a different age group or because we’ve been there and we know better. Do we want to protect our children? Sure. But in order to protect them how we want to, it requires us to have ultimate control and we all lose something in that process.

I know my parenting style isn’t accepted by everyone, and that’s okay. I’m doing my best just like everyone else and not everyone is going to agree on the best way to do it. But I do try to remember what it was like at age twelve or fourteen or seventeen. I remember what I thought and how I felt about my parents. I don’t ever want my children to feel that way about me. I don’t ever want them to feel like they can’t be who they want to be because I’m standing in their way.

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All of us the night before Adelle went back to North Carolina (The quality isn’t the best)

This post is part of Just Jot It January hosted by Linda G Hill.