Tag Archives: parenting

Growing up.

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
― Anne Frank

Our son came home this last weekend.  He hasn’t been home in 6 months and for 5 months before that.  It was incredibly normal to have him home, as if, he’d never really left.  I tried to remind myself that this is not the new normal around here, this is special time, to be spent together and enjoyed and cherished.

He’s turning into a grown up.

There were days, years even, when I didn’t know if that would happen.  I’d like to take credit for it but I can’t.  I’ve guided and yelled and listened and pushed with all my might.  It took him choosing to want to make his life better.  And now I see him making decisions based on how much sleep he can get and how much money it costs.  And I’m in awe of the fact that I don’t have to reason with him about it.

About a month and a half ago, I decided that I was really ready to change my ways.  I’m the clutterer in my house.  I come home, drop my purse, my keys, my sunglasses, the mail, etc, wherever there is a spot for them.  About a month and a half ago, I thought, geez, really?  When are you going to grow up and realize that it takes more energy and more time to clean up after yourself than to just deal with it right away.  So I cleaned out a basket and now I have a place to put the OPENED bills and stuff I need to deal with.  I sort the mail right when I bring it in — open every envelope, put the important stuff in my basket or file it, throw out the envelopes that won’t go in the compost, and put the rest of the junk mail or stuff to be shredded in the shred bucket.  Amazing what this one thing has done in my life.

You can see the top of my kitchen table.  There’s not one pile on it.  And there hasn’t been one for a couple of weeks now.

This urge to just deal with stuff has spread to the laundry.  You see, I don’t mind sorting it or washing it or even folding it out of the dryer, but I really don’t like putting it away.

Other than the load that is in the washer right now — my clothes are all hung up and put away.

I even double vacuumed yesterday AND mopped the floor.

(I may need to be checked out by a doctor because this is just not my usual self.)

Guess what.  I’m growing up.

Most of the time, I’m a take it on, put it behind you kind of person.  I always put my lack of enthusiasm for housework under the “I don’t have time to care” column.  With my son officially on the grown up side of life, I’m ready to finally care.  I don’t know that I’ll ever be the A1 housekeeper but I’m okay with that.

Growing up is all about claiming the power to change your mind, your circumstances and your life.  Kids can’t wait to be a grown up because they see how much power grown ups wield.  Grown ups wish they hadn’t grown up so fast because the “power” they thought they’d get, just isn’t what they thought it would be.

But the truth is we do have the power to create happiness and peacefulness and harmony and everything we’ve ever wanted.  We have the power to make someone else feel special, to make ourselves feel special, and to choose a different way in our lives.

It’s time to grow up.  It’s time to choose a better way.  It’s time to do that which you have been putting off, delaying action or just flat out avoiding.

Becoming a grown up is hard to do.  It feels hard to choose a different way.  But it also feels amazing when you know you pushed through some difficulty or some obstacle or some habit you’ve created.  The rewards for growing up far outweigh any pain or angst.  You feel empowered, bold and incredibly encouraged.

Do you have a dream?  What is keeping you from achieving it?  Money, time, circumstances?  What was the last step you took towards that dream?  It’s time to get moving.  Every step you take toward that dream gets you that much closer.  And with every step, you’ll find the enthusiasm and the motivation to take another.  Don’t worry about the side trips.  They are part of the journey to your dream.  Just keep faithfully and diligently taking those steps.

So be encouraged!  Be empowered!  Be a grown up in your life.  Take responsibility, take action, move your feet.  Who you become is in your hands now.

As Glinda, The Good Witch, says in the Wizard of Oz:

“You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power….”

dale and me – Melissa

 

From One Parent to Another…..

We have one son, who is now 24, on his own, living the Army way.  It wasn’t in my plan for him to be an only child, but that’s what happened.  I’ve often said that God knew that it was going to take all my strength just to raise this one. I have to admit that while this is a sorrow of mine, when I look back, there are years that I don’t know that I could have successfully raised another one because the one I have was so all consuming.

I wanted this child, oh how I wanted him!  And there were days I could have walked away….. oh, I say this half-heartedly.  I couldn’t have, wouldn’t have EVER walked away from him.  But I did entertain the dream!

I was one of those young women who scoffed and scorned parents whose children were out of control in the store or restaurant.  “My child was NEVER going to do that!”  And, for the most part, my son was great in stores and restaurants. (There was that one incident in the middle of the drug store that gave me all new insight on what you can control and what you can’t.)  But my child made me pay in other ways, in ways that no one in my family understood, in ways that no one around me understood and in ways that I clearly didn’t understand.

Simple punishments did not work on him.  We had locks on our TV’s so he wouldn’t spend his life in front of one.  We couldn’t ground him long enough to get his attention (and we tried).  The more we punished him, the more isolated he became.  It was having the opposite effect.

His room was never clean.  I learned to help him sweep through it a couple times a year to get the trash out of there and then I’d close the door.

I thought I’d be the fun mom of the neighborhood.  I’m crafty and creative. I’d enjoyed fun gatherings when I was in high school.  I thought my house would be the hangout house with the cool mom.  Hah!

My son’s friends thought I was the toughest mother they’d ever been around. (This is in stark contrast to the adults who counselled me to quit being so easy on him)  One of his friends actually told me that for years he didn’t understand it but then one day, he clearly got why I was so tough.  My house occasionally had a kid or two in it but never the gang. This house just wasn’t the fun house.

Why do I share this with you?  Because sometimes your plans don’t go the way you think they should and there isn’t an option of turning around.

I tell you this because if we can raise a kid who this day is responsible and plugged in and happy, you can, too.

So, in those moments when you are wondering what you were thinking wanting to have a sweet little munchkin  take a deep breath.  And then take another one.  And take one more.  Your job is not to raise a straight A student (although it is a plus) or the star gymnast.  Your job is to raise a productive, responsible grown up.  I encourage you to look up and look around and look to the future person your child is becoming.  It’s really easy to get caught up in the small things that can ruin the enjoyment your own child.

And if you see a young woman giving you the stink eye because your child is misbehaving, smile at her and know that one day she’ll have clarity.

And if you see a young mother trying to deal with a child who is having an unholy meltdown, smile at her and give her an encouraging word.

And if you see me laughing at my son when he calls to tell me how rotten his (not yet conceived) children are — you’ll know that God smiled on me that day!!!