Sitting in my office, feet propped up on the desk, pondering… what the hell am I gonna write for Wednesday’s Wisdom. Kind of funny in a way that I picked “wisdom“. Why didn’t I pick something easy like Wednesday’s Whimsy or Wednesday’s Woolgathering. I really trapped myself with this one, me… and wisdom… the two don’t belong in the same sentence. Since I’ve committed myself, I’ll give it a shot.
And here we go…
Ok, what about…
No, here is it. Grandparenthood. I claim seven children. I have a biological son and daughter, two step-sons and three step-daughters. These wonderful people have given me a dozen assorted grandchildren. That’s nine granddaughters, three grandsons. Only four of these live close enough for me to be actively involved with. Knowing that, here is the “wisdom” I want to share with you.
Raising children is hard. Besides the actual day-to-day responsibilities of raising these kids, you have a full-time job outside the home, you have bills to pay, you have doctor appointments, dentist visits, extra curriculum activities such as baseball and ballet, meals to cook, clothes to wash and four hundred other details that you have to deal with on a daily basis. Doesn’t matter if your Mommy or Daddy… your day is overly full and the evenings are more of the same. Taking all this in consideration, can you or have you, taken the time to just love your kids? Have fun with your kids?
Remember when your firstborn arrived? Everything had to be perfect. You were scared to death of making a mistake. Fears of failure where foremost in your mind. You watched them like a hawk, being over-protective and probably over-bearing too. Then the second child is born, and you’re more relaxed. You’re still diligent but not quite as paranoid about making a mistake as you were with the first one. Then here comes the third and boy, this child is on his own. You know now that you aren’t going to kill him by forgetting to feed him, that the SWAT team isn’t going to bust down the door if the child skips a bath here and there. It’s a cakewalk now. This baby can almost raise itself. Yeah, the baby of the family has it made.
Kids grow up, leave home, get married and now comes the good part. You get grandbabies, or what I like to call my g-babies. I’m a “Nanny” now. And this stuff is great. Remember changing diapers with your own kids, how you would tell the spouse, “NOOOOO… IT’S YOUR TURN!!!!”, now with the g-babies, you’re grabbing that baby up before she finishes pooping just for the privilege of changing her diaper. Spit up on your silk blouse, who cares?? You love your children dearly but these grandbabies, it’s a whole other ballgame. You have the time to have fun with the babies, you don’t worry about spoiling them because “a little spoiling isn’t going to hurt them” (all the while your own child is looking at you like you grew a second head).
So my little tidbit of wisdom here is, love your children like they are your grandchildren. Take care of the responsibilities but stop and love them, have fun with them, appreciate them and really, really “see” them. Let them make mistakes and learn from them, let them make decisions. Let them explore who they are and what they want from life. Give them the freedom to dye their hair pink, give them the freedom to be who they are. Guide them through the young years but don’t live their life for them. Teach them the basic necessities like manners and communication. Let them learn at their own pace, give them choices. Be the parent you always wanted for yourself, but always be the parent, not the friend.
I think I did a good job raising my children. Did I make mistakes? You bet I did. There are so many things I would do differently if I had the chance to go back and do it over. I would have given them so many more choices, would have given them more freedom to explore the world on their own. I wouldn’t have sweated the small stuff. I would focus more on their personal happiness. I wouldn’t let the stress of raising them get in the way of the simple joy of just having them in my life.
I hope that you understand what I’m trying to say. I think it boils down to looking at your children as a human being, not just as your child. Teach them the ways of the world and then stand back and let them fly.
So here’s to loving all my children, more than they could ever imagine.