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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Failure

Dear Darlings,

Sometimes I fail at this parenting thing so much my heart can't handle the impact. Sometimes guilt weighs heavily on me...feeling like I failed at parenting you. Now is one of those times. What caused my feelings of failure is neither here nor there, at this point. It's simply the fact that I failed, in some epic way, to impart a crucial piece of parenting advice. Your failure became, by default, mine

And my heart is in a million, tiny pieces, thinking about this failure of mine.

The thing is, all of you are so wildly different. What parameters and rules work for one of you, doesn't necessarily translate to another. So with each of you, it's back to square one, and learning all over again. Sometimes, it's like trying to keep up with a three-ringed circus.  Zach, you can handle a hard hand and strict rules. Lucas, you need a little more gentle approach. And Claire, well, you basically parent yourself, coming to us with words of wisdom well beyond your years. But then the universe shifts a little and suddenly you need some other way of being parented, and I somehow missed that memo, so I failed you and my parenting test.

I know I shouldn't feel like this. I know you kiddos are are blessed with free will. I know that, deep down inside, but sometimes I wish your free will would be damned and you would just bend to my will. I'm the mom, for heaven's sake! I'm supposed to know what's best, right? Except, in this instance, I didn't know what was best and the pull of your free will was too strong for me.

And this got me to thinking...

Sometimes, I truly miss the times of diapers and cribs. That may have been the most physically taxing part of parenting you, but I knew where you were. I knew what you were doing. I knew when I put you in your cribs at night, you would be there the next morning. I knew I couldn't fail you as long as I fed you, bathed you, comforted you and loved you. This time, right now, is more mentally challenging, more exhausting and far scarier than it ever was when you were babies. The stakes are incredibly high, it's not just about feeding and loving, it's about helping you to learn to navigate the entire world. Failures now come with a huge price tag. Diapers and cribs are a walk in the park.

But I guess sometimes I need to let you fail on your own to help you learn and grow. Sometimes, maybe, I enable you too much so you don't fail when really you should. Sometimes, maybe the protective lioness in me comes out and I try to swipe away all those obstacles that would force you to learn and fail and thrive.

Just know, my sweet loves, that I never mean to fail you or this thing called parenting. Sometimes it just happens, but we'll work together to find a resolution and a positive way forward. That's what family is all about...failing, making mistakes, learning, forgiving and most of all loving.

xo,
Always,
Mom

oh, for the love of my children...


Monday, February 6, 2017

Eff civility

Dear Darlings,

Okay. Okay. I told you a couple of weeks ago I try hard to stay out of political discussions. I try hard to stay just a mom blogger, but things are out of control. Civility is gone. It's run amok. It's just vanished. "Eff civility," some say. "Eff anyone who doesn't agree with me," others say.

I say, "eff all of that!" We need civility and I'll tell you why...

A little more than eight years ago Barack Obama ran a tough campaign against John McCain and won. Handily. One of my favorite hockey mamas and I were on opposite sides of nearly every aspect of the campaign, polar opposites, actually. Diametrically opposed, you might say.  She wanted things out of our government that I couldn't fathom. I wanted things she felt were wrong for our citizens. We debated. Fiercely, heatedly and often. Eye-to-eye was not a place we were. But we were civil in our discussions. I may have stomped my feet to be heard over her raised voice, but never a derogatory word about each other, or to each other, was ever uttered. I respected her passion for what she believed in, even if it didn't mesh with what I wanted for our country. She remains one of my favorite people, and I enjoy our differences of opinion. I love that we can spar and go around, but still come back to middle ground, maintaining our decorum, dignity and civility.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have a family member who got into a heated debate with another guest at our house on Christmas Day last year. My family member asked a question about whether or not the detention camps were a necessity during World War II (yes, World War II). My guest disagreed with the family member, who promptly responded with, "Well, then you're a fucking idiot," (and no he didn't just say Eff, he dropped the real eft-bomb)! Relations were strained and now we all walk on egg-shells when those two are around each other. Our guest usually bows out of any invitation where our family member will be present, and with good reason. Our family member decided to tell civility to eff off.

Fast forward to last night and the Super Bowl. I hate the Patriots. Actually I despise them, and I have for more years than I can remember. I think they're all a bunch of arrogant asses, led by one of the most supreme arrogant asses ever to walk this earth. (Kind of like some world leader we all know.) I had mini-meltdown after mini-meltdown in the fourth quarter as the Patriots started storming back from a 25 point deficit, as is evidenced in this video Claire decided to post on social media.

Stan piped in with, "See this is what is wrong with our country right now. You're not a Falcons fan, but you hate the Patriots so much that you are rooting for whoever is against them. You don't really care if the Falcons win, you just don't want the Patriots to win."

And to some degree he was right. (Although, in my defense, I had been reading up on them. I loved the fact that the Falcons honored our fallen troops by wearing initials of those who have sacrificed their lives for us on their helmets.) I just wanted the Falcons to beat the holy, living tar out of the Patriots. I didn't get my wish, but Stan proved his point this morning when he asked, "Do you know what the number-one-trending-tweet is right now? #NotMySuperBowlChamps."

Here's the thing...the Patriots, as much as it pains me to say this, WON. They won the Super Bowl, fair and square. They are the champions. And I have to accept it. I was powerless to stop their march toward victory. There is nothing I could ever have done to change the outcome, as much as I hate it. I will be gracious from this day forward as they bask in their victory. But I can tell you, I don't want them to win next year.

To me, this is such a parallel between the Super Bowl champs and our political situation right now. But here's the difference, we have the power to change our political culture. The power is in our voices and in our votes. We live in the best country in the entire world. Hands down. without a doubt, the best country in the world is ours. Lady Gaga delivered a powerful message last night with her performance...

This land is your land. This land is my land. This land was made for you and me.

It's okay to disagree. It's okay to have mini-meltdowns and stomp feet and raise voices, but we need to hear each other. We need to agree to disagree sometimes. We need know that we have the power to change what we don't like. But we need to stop bashing each other. Telling civility to eff off should have no place in this political climate. WE need to be the bigger people, to lead by example, when our leader doesn't. We need to cling to civility. 

For the love of all of our children...

xo,
me


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Trust me

Dear Darlings,

Sometimes I really don't know how I got here.

Today was Claire's very last day of class room driver's ed. She'll start behind the wheel in a couple of weeks, and not long after that she'll be a fully licensed driver, free to roam about the streets of RVA...at least to places we allow her to go. Anyway, that's really not where I'm going with this blog. I'm not planning to wax poetic about the fact that the baby of my babies is now almost old enough to handle being behind the wheel of a multi-thousand pound weapon. Nor am I planning to lament and whine and cry about time passing so quickly.

What I want to talk about is ME. Claire's class ended extremely early today and in order to be let out of the building I had to walk in, show my face and pick up my daughter and her friend. This is the text she sent me...


The part that got me was when she said, "...but you have to come inside to insure (sic) that we are leaving safely." 

As I was walking into pick her up, I caught a glimpse of my self in the window. I don't look like someone who should be trusted with ensuring somebody else's safety. Today, I got a glimpse of myself from waaaay back when. And I couldn't believe that I should be the trusted adult. How the heck did I get here? I feel like it wasn't all that long ago I was the teenager waiting to be picked up. 

There have been many days in the time of parenthood where I have wondered how the heck someone else would trust me with another human's life.. Like all three times the hospitals have sent me home with helpless newborns. What the heck did I ever do to earn that kind of trust? Or anytime I have had to sign medical papers allowing doctors to work on my kiddos? I should have no say in anything relating to the medical realm. Or today, when I was the trusted adult. The one who had to walk into a a building to check Claire out of class. How did I get to be the trustworthy one? I still feel like a kid in my own right. 

Today, feelings of fraudulentness kicked into high gear. Today, I pictured myself masquerading as an adult. Trust me? Ack! I'm just fumbling and bumbling my way through parenthood, hoping beyond hope I don't screw my kiddos up too much. Trust me, that's one thing I really don't want to do!

xo,
me

Oh, for the love of my children...