That’s not a bad thing either. It’s just a fact. My outer being is fraying, and I’m not quite sure what to do.
Nathaniel is in college.
The ladybug is fighting for her independence.
Lil Miss is still 75 years old.
Sir Twizzler is….ummm, showcasing all of his unique qualities.
Growing up Pentecostal, there was a LOT that we couldn’t do in terms of “expressing” ourselves. We couldn’t talk back to our parents, even if we were using calm tones. We couldn’t tell about who we had crushes on, because little kids don’t have those types of feelings. And we certainly couldn’t choose to attend school in Louisiana or Georgia because it was too far, and we didn’t have enough money.
My parents loved us. Loved us the best way that they could, but I maintain that having four kids by 24 and attempting to live up to the rules that you think society had about young parents made them a bit tougher than they should have been. Do I think that they hated me? Nope. I use quite a few of their parenting techniques with my own children, and they work well. I do however, feel that parenting from a place of fear, which I think that they did with me especially, kept us from experiencing what we could have as teens. It’s what I yearned for as an adult, and ran straight to after striking out on my own.
It’s the reason that we pushed Nathaniel to go to Germany last year, and New York this year (although one 5’2″ parent begged him to go to Prague instead – but he gave an exasperated sigh on the subject.) We let him do things like lock-ins and Dance for Life every year. We didn’t pull him out of team sports when he didn’t do as we said at home. Instead, we disciplined with things at home – time to hang with friends, time on the phone. Those things.
It’s hard to break away from parental guidelines you know were put into place because of love, but just don’t fit right with the way that your kids are.
I’m sure my parents and other folks in their generation look at our children and feel that they may have too much freedom. That these children don’t act grown up enough. While I’m NOT in the school of reading parenting books written by non-parents, I do know that being a kid these days is so much harder than when I was one, and I want my children to relish their childhood for as long as they can.
I love seeing them pretending that torn up pieces of tissue are a cast of characters in a play that is being created on the fly.
Or, dressing Barbie dolls in discarded fabric from my bag orders.
Or getting excited at the fact that I’m making corn bread, or fried chicken, because it’s “one of the best things ever!”
I still have those lessons that I learned from my parents, seeing them parent me as I was growing up.
I just wish that they would have shared this one thing.
Parenthood frays every fiber of your being, and then reconstructs them back again, so that you can do it all over again if necessary. Your soul weeps when your children do. That you will cry when they feel that they’ve been misunderstood. That your feelings can and will get hurt by something that they’ve said to you. That your kids won’t necessarily know that they’re being jerks because they’re just trying to process feelings in a way that makes sense to them.
That they trust you to see them at their worst, which is why you get a different version of them that they don’t share with friends or educators.
I consider myself blessed to have GOOD kids. They just need guidance like most good kids do. And no matter how frayed my outer layers get, I’m going to keep it stitched together for them. Wearing it like my favorite coat – the one that makes me look amazing, even if the sleeves are starting to show their age.