Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Parenting Lessons

Parenting, I have come to find out, is a constant learning process.  In spite of the fact that my school years have longs passed, I still am having to gain new skills.  Today I had to do another one of those learning lessons...or maybe I should say several of those learning lessons. 

Today, my youngest was in tears as we worked on piano together.  Now really why she was upset was because she had just been chastised about being more grateful for what she had, but piano got to take the blame for the moment.  As I sat holding my sobbing child, it occurred to me how much I wanted to run away at the moment.  Just get out and leave.    I then realized that we hadn't left our house to do anything fun in a long time.  No field trips, no fun exploring, nothing.  So we went bowling today.  But since I'm a kill two birds with one stone kind of mom, we stopped at the bx and the girls got hair cut first.  That didn't turn out so well either. 

My oldest daughter has hair cut issues anyway, but I have the rule that hair cannot be in the eyes.  She was sad because she had been trying to get her hair to go to the side, but it's so heavy it just falls down.  She was insistent that she get to keep trying.  But I didn't listen.  I had the lady cut her bangs above her eyebrows.  My girl sat down next to me when it was done and we were waiting for the youngest and was quietly in tears.  Once again, I wanted to run away.  Just leave.  I couldn't understand how a girl's identity could be so tied up in hair.  I've never cared that much about my physical appearance.  I still don't.  But my girl did, and really, in the end, I guess that was all that mattered.  My girl cared about what her hair looked like and I should too.  It's hard to adjust a 34 year old mindset.  It's hard to be understanding about something that I just didn't understand...but I figured it couldn't be any harder than looking at my girl's crumpled face.  So, we talked about how we were going to work on her bangs growing out and then we went and bought her some clips to help her keep her bangs back.  Just that quick all was right in the world again. 

So, off to bowling we finally went.  We had lunch, and surprisingly everyone actually ate without me being a nag.  (In this house, that is cause for celebration)  After that we are all off to bowl, when I stick my foot in my mouth.  I challenged all the kids to bowl without bumpers and to score 50 or higher.  While the older two readily accepted the challenge, the youngest...not so much.  How I didn't cave for those first five frames is nothing short of a great mystery to me.  God bless the woman with the little kids playing in the play place next to us.  She called Emily over to encourage her and give her a few pointers.  I'm not sure if it helped, but it surely didn't hurt.  Finally, finally by the ninth frame...she knocked a pin over.  Without bumpers.  All on her own.  I could have wept with joy.  The look on her face was one I will never forget.  She was so proud of herself.  After that there was no stopping her.  Her score didn't really get any better...but she kept on trying. 

My kids are getting older now and I can't just do the because I said so thing any more.  That thing about homeschooling is that I have finally become teacher and my words seem to finally have weight.  What I think about them, what I say to them, how I act towards them and all matters now.  I used to get so frustrated because someone else's words weighed more heavily than mine did on their hearts...but now, I get frustrated with myself because I seem to so often not do the best things, and now what I say does matter to them. 

I've got great kids.  They aren't loud, rude, or pushy.  They don't bounce off the walls in public, and they aren't harsh to other kids.  They willingly volunteer their time to help others.  I look at other kids and I wonder so often why mine aren't like them.  I look at so many other kids and am grateful mine aren't like them.  I guess I can't have it both ways.  I know my kids have fun and play and do all those kid things and I probably shouldn't worry.  But I do any way. 

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