Moms on Face Book quoting tears of sadness as their child goes to school for their last day of high school. They tell stories of crying in their child's sandwiches as they make their lunches for the last time or tears streaming down their cheeks as they watch their child drive away for the last time as their high school days are ending. Ending, tears.....these words aren't in my vocabulary today.
Yes, my Son went to high school for the last time....kind of. He still has a final next week and then he will go back in a couple weeks for Senior Assembly. Of course, he will go all next week for baseball practice as his baseball team prepares for the state baseball tournament. So was it his last day of school? Not really. Technically, yes. It was the official last day of class. So the mom's jumped on Face Book and Twitter this morning in tears.
Is my heart hard as stone? No. Do I not care for my Son? Of course, I love my Son and share in his excitement. Will I shed tears? I very well may. Will they be tears of sadness or tears of joy? Probably both. However, I have learned through graduation experiences, although I never thought I would be ready for my child to embark on this new life they call "college", I was more than ready much earlier than I ever anticipated. It surprised me during the spring semester of my oldest daughter's senior year in high school. I thought I would be drowning in tears and would be overwhelmed with emotions.
Much to my surprise, my emotions were not sadness but excitement. My anticipation of my oldest daughter leaving home transformed from the unknown to excitement and joy. I became excited and couldn't wait until she began that new part of life. I realized it was "time" for her to learn how be the person I had so hard to teach all the In's and Out's of life for the past eighteen years. So off she went. Did tears drop from my eyes? Absolutely! However, I knew in my heart that she needed to grow as a person and own her decisions and learn from them.
So today on my Son's last day of school, I am anxious for him to embark on a similar journey. Will I miss his smiles? Yes! Will I enjoy seeing him walk through that door for a quick dinner or a load of laundry? Absolutely! However, God prepared me for today and I am ready. I know he is ready. I know he will make decisions differently than I would, but I already had my chance. Now it is his chance. So let the fun begin! I know he is ready and so am I!
Friday, May 3, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
What's the purpose of having a home phone? I have seven people in my family, six of them of cell phones, but I still have a home, land line phone. Is it a waste of money? I have debated this age old question every month as I pay my bills. I wonder every day as I see the caller ID and 98% of the call are solicitation calls. However, I am not willing to give it up yet. Call me old fashioned. Call me traditional. I'm fine with those names.
My friends claim that they gave up their land lines as everyone in their family have cell phones so they don't need a land line. Makes sense. They can get in touch with any one in their family. Children and adults alike tote their phones around with them everywhere, including outside to do chores, in the car to do errands and even in the bathroom. So why would we need to pay for that phone that plugs in the wall?
In my family, I usually claim that my youngest daughter doesn't have a cell phone so I don't have a way to get in touch with her. Plus, when I'm home, I usually lay my phone down on a counter and walk all around. I may or may not hear it. So if I don't answer my cell, call my home phone. It's just another method of getting a hold of me. Is that a good enough reason to spend the extra money every month? Who knows?
However, today, I realized another reason I am not willing to give up my land line. My children value their cell phones more than anything in their lives. That's their life lines to their social lives, to their friends, to their worlds. Everything they do revolves around their phones. Even if they have the most basic flip phone and some of mine do, they treasure that phone. So once they obtain the golden age to receive one, it's the first thing that goes when I need to make a point or when they misbehave.
As parents, the rule of thumb is to find what "hurts the most" (NOT literally) when it punishing our children. I am not condoning physical punishment. I'm saying that we need to figure out what they will dislike the most. If it means taking away a privilege. Take it away. If it's TV, turn it off. If it means not going to a party, don't allow them to go. If it means collecting their cell phone, then it's land line time.
Today, my daughter yelled at me for not having breakfast food in the house. We had smoothies, pancakes, bagels and granola bars that she could eat. Did I have food in the house? Yes. Was it what she wanted? No. Do you yell at your mother? No. I tried to talk to her several times and she continued to yell at me. So I took her cell phone. She now must use a land line. In my experience, she may not as she doesn’t know any one's number, but that's her problem, not mine.
One day I may decide to relinquish my land line. However, I am not ready to do so today. I still like the fact that someone can look me up in a phone book. Call me old fashioned or old school. I also like that my cell phone is reserved for personal friends only. I also like the ability to have an alternative phone available whether someone is trying to get in touch with me or one of my children need to use it because their phones have been confiscated as a form of punishment. So I am good with keeping my land line....for a while.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
What's a Mom to do? How do you help a teenager daughter that you see struggling? Some teens want help. Others push you away. It's a parenting roller coaster. One day, I believe my daughter desperately wants my advice and anxiously waits for my next word. Other days, she lashes out at me and tells me she hates me, our family and can't wait to leave us. It's a terrible place to live. So my heart swells with fears and crushed with tears. It's a daily roller coaster and I never know if I will be on top screaming with my arms up or at the bottom anticipating the next thrill. It's a crazy ride.
So my 13 year old daughter that struggles the most with girl drama and issues also struggles with anxiety. She worries incessantly and wants to fit in and please everyone. One funny look of the eye and she thinks they hate her or are mad at her, when in reality they were making a goofy face at the person behind her in line or were remembering that their Mom asked them to clean their room before they could go to the movies that night. Instead, my daughter creates a story in her own head that it's all about her and how they hate her. It's her anxiety and worry wart syndrome kicking in. I know it is real. It's been real for years. So I don't minimize it. We try and work through it.
By age thirteen, I would have hoped I could have rationalized with her but it doesn't always work. In fact, it rarely does. So I know she bottles up her emotion. She currently takes anxiety medication to help, which is does. She hates taking it so I have to monitor it. It doesn't make her feel weird or have any side effects. She just doesn't like to be different and have to take medicine to be "normal". I understand as I had similar feelings when I had to start taking medicine for similar issues. So I can definitely relate. We also tried counseling; however, she wouldn't buy into it. She wouldn't be honest with hte counselor and we tried a couple different ones. She would say everything was great when it was falling apart at home.
Now what's a mom to do? It's now affecting not only her family relationships but now her "girl" friends. She can control it in public around non-family members but it wreaks havoc on her internally. I know it. She knows it. It saddens me to see her like that. It does not cripple her as she active at school, on volleyball teams and at church. She a fun loving and passionate child. So how do I connect with her?
Ever since she was a little child, she would write me notes. If she would get in trouble, she would write me a note apologizing for what ever happened. It was her way of expressing herself. She's able to pull her thoughts out in words on paper much better than verbally. So a couple years ago, we had a Mommy/Daughter Journal. I would write a note to her and she would write back to me. It could be fun or thoughts of our heart to work out issues. After we write in the journal, we put it under the other's pillow for them to find. If they want, they can write back. It's just a great way to let your feeling out in a safe way.
So, this week I was cleaning out my closet. What a mess! I found our Mommy/Daughter Journal. So I wrote in it and slid it under her pillow. It's a secret between her and I. We write back and forth. It takes the heated words out of it. It takes the emotion of it. We talk back and forth. I say things that are encouraging. I say things that she needs to hear, but she can think on them alone and react in her own time not instantaneously.
So today, I pray for God's help as I write in our journal. Like my daughter, I do not verbally respond quickly well. I do much better as I write. I can put my thoughts on paper and they are more complete and accurate. I do not react well during conversations at times, especially when the emotions start rising. So even if you have a wonderful relationship with your child, I encourage you to start a Mommy/Child Journal. It's a wonderful way to open dialogue with your child. It's provides a free forum for both you and your child to express what's on your heart.
In the last couple days, I am happy to say that my house has been calmer since we started writing again in our Journal. I give all the credit to my daughter not the Journal. She is the one who has to decided to either succumb to girl drama or decide that God made her perfect the way she is and not worry about them. Be content in how God made her. He made her perfectly so the she could complete the plans He so carefully laid out for her.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
In today's world, social media tracks our friends for us. It not only tracks our friends, but it tells us when they deletes us or "un-follows" us. Teens today track that daily can consider that a social status as wells as how many "likes" they get on a photo on Instagram or how many "re-tweets" they get on Twitter. Don't get me wrong, it can be fun, IF taken in a healthy doses.
Thirty years ago, I got a healthy dose of "I am NOT your friend" at my 13th birthday party. I believe it changed my mental state for quite some time. About a month or so before my 13th birthday party, I made the 8th grade cheerleading squad with two of my friends. Since we were all practicing for camp and hanging out together, I thought it would be fun to invite all the girls on the squad to my birthday party. I sent out invitations. No one told me they couldn't come. So I was excited. I had made the squad. These "popular" cheerleader girls were coming to my party. I had made it in the world of popularity. Right? Wrong!
On the night of my party, no one show up except my two friends that I had before I tried out. That's it. I sat for awhile waiting. Everyone awkwardly made excuses. My Mom had made a cake and we were going to go on a scavenger hunt but that's hard to do with three people. I can't remember what we ended up doing. All I remember was that the cheerleaders really didn't like me. It was all a facade at practice. They might like me or tolerate me, but they didn't like me. That birthday party shaped my view of friendships for many years to come.
So yesterday my heart broke when my thirteen year old shared she is struggling with figuring out who her friends really are. Thirteen is a difficult age for many reasons. Girls are moody. Girls have drama. Girls are hormonal. Girls are not always rational. Girls are boy crazy and let that affect their decisions. Girls dream of popularity. Girls can change their personality minute by minute. Girls can be mean. Girls post "best friend" pictures with ten different girl, hurting the other nine girls feelings. Can't you only have one best friend? The list can go on an on.
It so difficult as a mom when your child struggles. My heart is so sad for her, not only because of the girl drama but because she struggles with anxiety already. These struggles increase her anxiety tremendously and it's affecting her everyday life. It's breaking down her self esteem and affecting her relationships which are good and healthy. I want her to stay strong but she is breaking down. All of our life experiences shape our lives, good and bad, no matter what our age. I know these will for her too.
Figuring out how to help your child is a constant "Mom" struggle. One thing that works today may not work tomorrow. Come back and join me as I share how my daughter's struggle impacted my entire family and how I chose to deal with it.
Monday, April 22, 2013
After about thirty months of marriage, I knew what I liked about men and what I would change. So I took in the nature vs. nurture concept and thought I would do my very best to nurture all the qualities I didn't like in my husband into my son. I have to say, in a few ways I succeeded.
I'm not sure if it's really for the science books or just the reality of how God made him (and I honestly believe it's just the way God made my Son), but I have to say that some of the traits I attempted to nurture out of my Son worked but most of them did not. I have to say I used to cringe when my mother in law would say, "Well, he is a boy and that's what boys do". What? That's not what boys do if they are taught properly what my thinking.
In some ways, my thought process was spot on and others was way off the mark. My Son was never going to approach like like me. For one, he is a male. Males think completely different that females. No matter how much we try, they (for the most part) approach life differently. However, I do have to say I could teach him not to spit in front of me or cuss in front of me. I could also try and teach him to be sensitive to others feelings. I do have to say that God had a sense of humor and attempted to help me with this one as he gave my Son not only a mother but four sisters. Boy, he does have a lot of help seeing the "girl" perspective.
However, yesterday this sweet little boy that used to come ask me if I was OK when he found me crying in the laundry room folding clothes when I had a really tough day (as all of us Mom's do) turned nineteen. Time does fly when you are having fun! He frustrates me on so many levels as he's making his own decisions and approaching life in ways I wouldn't do it. BUT....I had my chance at life and now so does he.
Happy Birthday Son. God made you perfect the way you are. I proudly call you Son. You may see me as constantly trying to "teach you a life lesson" but what don't know is that you have taught me so much more than you will ever know. I love you!