Becoming a parent to many is the most joyous occasion in their lives next to any other exciting and thrilling moment you’ve ever experienced. This goes for men and women. That moment when the long awaited day (or night) arrives and you see this precious, helpless, adoring, wonderful little person that you created. In an instant you are transformed from this selfish all about me person to caring for this little being that you are now responsible for raising to be a productive member of society. You fall in love with someone that you’ve only met in person for a split second. You begin to dream of all the amazing things you will do, teach, and learn together. You are officially……….a PARENT.
There are so many resources for new parents these days. From books, you tube videos, internet articles, and good ol’ fashion verbal advice. In the beginning its extremely overwhelming. You just want to be left alone to drink in the smells and sounds of your newborn. Eventually something will happen and you will need an opinion….and whether its live or memorexed from you tube, you will be listening to someone’s experience about the same thing that is either happening to you or to your baby.
The years go quickly and you get caught up in the every day routine of work, school, sports, family events, travel, the dirty job of discipline, the euphoria of teaching responsibility & accountability and the day to day grind of life. That equates to 18 summers. While all of those years are filled with memories of ups, downs, highs, lows and the changes you and your child(ren) go through as you grow older……one day, you step back and you give yourself a mid life evaluation of your job as a Parent. Trust me, everyone else has been evaluating you for years! They just don’t have the authority to fire you (unless of course they are the law).
The truth of the matter is there will be many days that you evaluate your job as a Parent. We tend to pick the times when we are most exhausted at doing it for one reason or another. We will go through tests of our sanity, pages of disappointments, chapters of excitement and books of revelations. I’ve never really stepped back and looked at my foundation because I was too busy building on top of it and thinking of the next to do. That day…er year…has come for me. My midlife evaluation. 2016 is my children’s birth years of 18 and 21. They are officially in the eyes of the law…..ADULTS!!
Unfortunately for me….this happens to be a year where, that moment when, has happened. That moment when you look back and you say….I think I did what I believed, and was taught, to be the right level of discipline and the right level of fun, but the end result was not what I had expected. Its that moment when you say to your dark angel side…..I should have never become a parent. I wasn’t mentally fit to do this job.
The pressure of being a good example for your children has failed. The moment when you realize they are their own individual who can now make their own choices and are now responsible for their own consequences. That moment when everything you thought you taught them is nonexistent in the outcome. That moment when you don’t know whether to give up, give in or simply run away yourself! That moment when your sanity has reached its peeking point and you can no longer function mentally the way you used to. That moment when you cry off and on for days no matter where you are or what you are doing…. Only your true friends know because they have engaged themselves within your family & your children’s lives for at least 5 or more years & have seen it all………
And then there is that moment….when your bestie says to you….
“I think you are a GREAT mom!!! I would have killed to have a mom like you! The right amount of rules and the right amount of fun! When we had kids…I looked up to YOU as a mother. Remember all the times I would ask you what we should do?…..
At this moment I am still doubtful of my ability and she says……
“I disagree. I think sometimes no matter how solid your foundation is… The right wrong person can put a crack in it.”
At that moment….I was struck with an odd sense of failure and relief.
We all have seasons and unfortunately I am in a season of SAD thanks to winter (see blog titled Got SAD?) and a season of change. Change in the circle of life and change in what I believe my purpose in life really is. I can’t change the past. I can’t change the rules I set, the discipline I gave or the words I said. I can’t live in the past. What I do know is that we all have choices and we can’t blame our choices on someone else. There are 2 sides to every story and circumstances in which we make justifiable choices that we believe to be the right choice at the time that we are making it. We all know right from wrong (unless you have some diagnosis like Affluenza) even if we weren’t taught it, something in our bellies tells us…that ain’t right!
Tomorrow is not promised. All I can pray is that GOD gives me another chance…oh wait! HE did. I am a grandmother. My parents and in laws taught me what grandparenting looks like. I have a choice of how to grandparent. My daddy, my mother in law and my own paternal grandparents are grand examples. I want to be just like them. My grandparents gave me the freedom to explore, have ice cream for breakfast and watch soap operas and Gunsmoke at an early age. My dad gives the right amount of hugs and kisses and my mother in law gives the right amount of love and encouraging words. Her tone is never bitter or spiteful and she always gets their attention. Now I can only pray that I get that opportunity. The days when my dad would come and pick up my daughter were the best. And the days I would drop her at my mother in laws for her to care for her while we went to work are priceless.
Not everyone gets the opportunity to hold the hardest job in the World. And not everyone is really good at it…..and NO ONE can do it alone. And because of that, there are lots of social services, doctors and villages of people who help them. Even the best moms, have support from their friends and family.
I have some friends who have taken sabbaticals from their mothers for some serious reasons. I don’t think I’m that kind of mother, I certainly didn’t fail in the department of setting an example for education, hard work, giving back, sacrifice, and law abiding goodness (minus speeding of course).
So even though my children are now headed into their own years of adulting…….I am, and will always be…..a Parent. Its a job that requires angels singing over your head, the power of prayer(if that’s your thing) and vocal outlets in the form of friends and family. I will always have some things I could have done better and if given the chance will practice those with my grandchild(ren). But in order to do that, I have to keep living.
Here’s to life, while it may have its ups and downs, seek first the Kingdom of your choice, reach out to your friends and family……and even when you want to give up….keep swimming. This season will pass. May the joys and sorrows of parenting be ever in your favor. CHEERS!!