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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Clear as mud

Heavy stuff today.  Chocolate worthy.  Sorry.  But it is what it is.
Parenting is tough stuff.
Some of my children have gotten old enough to be able to hurt my feelings.  To repetitively point out my short comings and throw them at me when they are angry.  I certainly didn't imagine this kind of thing happening when they were all cute and 2 years old... at least not this quickly.  I'm pretty sure this kinda of thing is normal.  I'd like to say I'm wise and mature enough to realize that I'm the mama, and they are far from grown, and it doesn't really hurt.  But I can't say that.  They get smarter as they get older and can more easily pinpoint and articulate a mother's flaws.

And the thing with teenagers is that you can't blog about the specifics of it for the whole world to read.  They'd get kinda sore... and rightly so.

Wasn't it easy when they were little?  Eat your vegetable.  Don't throw sand.  Say please and thank you.
But somewhere along the way, a decade passes and the parenting gets clear as mud.  Toddler turns to tween turns to teen, and what I say and how I say it is suddenly horribly profound.  Mess it up and you wind up ruining a future... or worse. {Let's not think of the worse for now.  Too scary.}  And all I really want to do it throw my arms around 'em and squeeze tightly and somehow convey how I love 'em so much.  So I do.  And I find I'm squeezing a stiff nonreciprocating shell of a child.   I know this child only wants to be loved.  I'm having a hard time figuring out what that love is suppose to look like.

Having a stranger living under my roof isn't acceptable either, so I must find a way to work these things out.

Having a large family, there is always someone to act as mediator.  (anyone from about age 12 on up can act as mediator, as long as they aren't directly involved in the situation.  We use them frequently.)  It's a blessing.  The mediator can tell me things I don't want to hear either... about those aforementioned short comings.  And I got plenty of them!  But that's ok.  It's all in the name of becoming a better me for them.

I might think it's resolved, so we celebrate by just being together.  But confrontation may rear it's venomous head again, just when I least expect it.  That's how it works often.  Catching you off guard is part of the game.  I'm having trouble following along.  Where are the directions?

So I retreat.  I give up... for now.  And lick my wounds.
and then...


after the umpteenth confrontation of the day...

this child comes in my room to find a still-broken me...

and wraps warm arms around my body...

and whispers... 

Thank you.  Thank you for getting cereal and tuna fish at the store.  That means a lot.  I love you. 

And I know what is meant.  And I melt.
And we are ok again.


  1. Beautifully written, Nancy. I feel your mama's heart.

  2. We have not reached this age yet so I have nothing useful to say...thank you for sharing. Beautiful photos, too!

  3. Your words were very poignant. You are obviously a great parent that he/she made an effort to apologize in his/her own way. Thanks for sharing and lovely photos.

  4. Maybe your older kids and you can all take the surveys at the end of the Five Languages of Love for children? It might help them to be more self aware about how they experience love and help you show them in those ways.

    I found those books to be handy tools in the past.

    also. i dread this coming.

  5. You don't need any need a big o' hug.....and you need to be there for the rest of us when we get there with our babies (-:
    Our oldest (turning 13) is starting the huge mood swings....and I find myself so sad, when my sunny DS slips behind these brief 'clouds', I feel like I'm losing him some days, but I know he'll 'be back' when he comes through these amazing changes.....


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