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Sunday, March 25, 2012

SOL 25 There Are Times When You Just Want to Make It All Better


Long ago, my sister-in-law (and chosen mentor on raising children) and I were sitting on her couch trying to plan a 50th Anniversary celebration. "Little kids, little problems; bigger kids, bigger problems,"she volunteered as she sat trying to comfort my colicky infant.  At the time, most of her kids were already teenagers, and thus her wisdom usually put my bawling baby or tantrumming toddler in proper perspective. 

Today, those words resonate clearly with me as I watch my now "big kids" maneuver their ways thought life's obstacle course - from afar.  While there are many "helicopter" parents out there who planned their children's lives, scheduled sports lessons, wrote papers, filled out college applications and micromanaged decisions, we were quite simply, the opposite.  

I really am not sure which came first, our decision to raise independent children or our, by nature, strong-willed and fiercely independent children.  "I do it myself" and "Don't help me" were probably the first phrases out of their mouths!  Now, as adults, they are usually a bit more polite, but the message is the same, "I'll figure it out,"  and they do.

This month, they have each maneuvered their ways through intense housing "crises" that have disrupted their sleep (and mine) and their thoughts (and mine).  They are making big decisions and maneuvering the gauntlet of life that they have been preparing for since those early phrases, "I do it myself!"  I am proud and happy and sure they have will make their way through the obstacles and challenges....but there are still times when you just want to make it all better or easier! 

10 comments:

Unknown said...

As a independent child, I thank you. Parents like you are what this world needs! When parents do everything for their children, their children grow up to be adults who have trouble doing things on their own. Whenever I'm blessed with children, I plan on raising them to be independent thinkers, too. :)

Jennifer K.
web.me.com/aggiekesler/myjourneyabroad

Carol said...

Love this post. My high schoolers are semi-independent, or at least I think they are. One is supposed to be moving 800 miles away to go to a junior college and play football. I'm terrified, thinking about him living in an apartment, buying his own groceries, etc., but I know he will be fine. Still, like you, I have had many sleepless nights…

elsie said...

It's hard to watch them struggle, but it is best for them and us. Sometimes I dream that I've won the big lottery and I can make life easier for many, but then I'd have to buy a ticket. Somehow I never get that done.

Seney said...

You are so right...there are times a parent wishes to make it easier...but the path you chose in raising your children and it sounds like your children did too - will make them happier, healthier individuals. There is nothing better than figuring out life's obstacle. Your post will make many of your readers ponder.

jenb. said...

As an independent child, I share with you - there is a fine line. I am thankful for the space my parents have and continue to give me to "do it myself". I am also extremely thankful that they are here when I just need an ear, a shoulder, or a piece of advice that gets me the next few steps in the journey. Blessings to you for loving your children the way that works for all of you!

Jen said...

Your piece moves so nicely through time. You gave such a nice glimpse into the background in writing about you don't know which came first and sharing their phrases from when they were young and carrying that through to when they were older.

You should be reall proud! Even now I look at my 11 year old boy who was very similar as a toddler, so independent, it's his father's genes, and like you said to see him maneuver through life with such confidence. You know they'll be o.k.!

maria.selke said...

I have one who is clingy and one who wants to be more independent. It's a challenge to try to meet them both where they are and still try to move them toward more independence.

Pettit said...

I enjoyed reading your slice and how you moved us through it. Thanks for sharing. It is certainly a challenge to figure out how to help them manage their own things and to sit back and let them do it!

Michelle said...

At almost two, my girls are showing fierce independence as well! Oh, what the future only holds! Love the quote, "Little kids, little problems. Bigger kids, bigger problems." I'll remember that for a long, long time! Thanks for sharing!

Mrs. V said...

I really enjoyed this slice, seeing glimpses into different phases of motherhood, and I really like the quote from your sister in law as well.