The Truth About Parenting Children into Adulthood (reluctantly posted by a blogger who doesn’t blog about parenting)

I almost never blog about parenting.

Why not?

Mostly because I have no idea what I’m doing. Parenting is an experiment. Every time. One in which the test subjects, conditions, and variables are always changing. The moment I think I’ve done something right is usually the moment just before the moment I find out whatever I thought I did right was actually so wrong it will require years of therapy to undo the damage. Why would I document that online?

Funny thing: while people often congratulate me for raising two great young women, they rarely ask me for parenting advice. That ought to tell you something. Sure, their mouths say “Wow, you must have done something right,” but what’s really going through their minds is “How did this woman get so lucky?” And I’m thinking, I know, right?! 

Second, I don’t blog about parenting because I like my kids, and more importantly, I want them to like me (or at least still visit me on holidays). Sharing their trials and tribulations with the world on a public blog doesn’t seem like the best way to engender familial affection.

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Not Mine to Keep | A Poem of Love and Loss

Family Photo

Family Photo

For my girls:

Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh is this child
this woman
who now walks away from me

Always she is walking away…always, she is going

I wish she had come with a note,
like a present with a ribbon tied ’round her wrist
and a card attached
with the words:

“Just passing through.
I will come to you,
into your body, into your home,
into your wallet, your schedule, your dreams
and most of all
into your heart.
But I will not stay.
I’m just passing through.”

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Adventures of a First Year College Mom

So seriously, who’s idea was college anyway? Who ever thought: Gee, let’s take hundreds, if not thousands, of teenagers from the safety of their homes and put them all together in one place for months on end? Where was that guy’s level headed friends? (Yes, I am assuming it was a guy.) One would think that the mere mention of such an idea would have been enough to raise a red flag in the mind of most reasonable adults – or at least anyone who has ever raised, seen or been near a teenager. Common sense must have been out of town that day – or no

one envisioned co-ed college in the 21st century –  and soon enough, places were being built to house the hoardes of maturing youngsters.

But what kind of place? Of course, it must one that is perpetually too small for them, that always has too little housing for its guests, and whatever rooms are available offer just a few feet more than than square footage to person ratios of Manila, Phillipines. As for the ratio of showers, toilets and sinks to a student…well, I’m pretty sure you can find more favorable numbers at your nearest prison. To top that off, these same students – the ones living like chickens on a Perdue farm – are then hired by the college to make and serve food in the cafeteria…to one another… Are you getting the picture? I have not even described all other manner of closeness that might occur on a campus full of young adults, but if we’re being real – and you know I like to be real – we can’t ignore the possibilities.  All that (and trust me, I’ve barely scratched the surface) and it’s no wonder students must now recieve nearly enough vaccinations to gain them admittance into a third world country before any college will allow them to move in!

Oh, and did I mention, that all this can be yours for the low, low price of say….$40,000/year?

Photo by John Phelan

Photo by John Phelan

Wow. I’m not even sure what else to write about. That just sort of says it all doesn’t it? But no, there’s more. I never get off the hook that easy…and neither do you. I’ve just decided…seriously, like right now…to report our college initiation adventures, along with some tips for you moms and dads out there, in segments. Otherwise, this post will be way too long and neither you nor I really want to deal with that. Besides, I’m tired and I want to go to bed. So here’s your first tip:

Tip #1 ~ Don’t think about it too much. See how thinking gets me into trouble? If not, I have to wonder if you were paying any attention at all. Just read that first paragraph again! That is a glimpse into the brain of someone who thinks too much. What unhealthy wandering! And look, now I’ve subjected you to it. Goodness gracious – learn from me! Think less and PRAY MORE! Prayer – the solace of every parent who has finally realized she can not control her child’s life; and your best access to the One who can bring you peace, even if your daughter is living on Cheez-its, sleeping 4 hours a night and residing in the same building as 100 testosterone charged men. Yes, think less…PRAY MORE! 

Cross Country Day 21 – 4 Corners … Silly, silly mommy

 

Note the size of the houses and the road in the distance to get an idea of the size of the rocks.

A cross country road trip, ours anyway, is a vacation in the car. As we like to say, this is our “land cruise.” A sampling of America. On Tuesday, it was already time to head to New Mexico. Driving through the painted desert and Navajo Nation in the northwest corner of Arizona was stunning. The giant, unpredictable rock formations reminded us of the badlands, but with green desert plants growing on the tops. Some of the rocks were giant “mesas” that took miles and miles to get around. Others jutted out of the earth in all sorts of shapes. One looked remarkably like the Emerald City, (see it on my FB profile page), another like a greek temple.

Earlier that morning I called Four Corners Monument and found out that they were closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for construction. The only three days we are going to be in New Mexico. I can not express my disappointment, not only for me, but for my girls who have looked forward to this for a long time. And why in the world are they closed for construction during the summer season, even the week of July 4th?! My beloved coworker’s voice echoes in my head ” Ours is not to question why. Ours is just to do or die.”

Well, we decided to drive there anyway. We couldn’t even get close to the monument, but just as we were leaving the office lady pulled up and Doug convinced her to let us in to see it for five short minutes. He is quite the negotiator.

The actual monument, where the four corners of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona supposedly meet, was

Well, not quite what we had in mind. You can see a couple of the signs in this pic.

completely fenced off with a locked gate and several warning signs. I can not tell you how badly I tried to convince everyone that we could shimmy through the loosely fitted gate. (And we definitely could have fit!) Doug, and even the girls, kept insisting this was a bad idea. I can not imagine why.

So what stopped me? Nothing other than my conviction that I would be setting a bad example for my children. I must be getting old; some may call it maturity, but I’m not so sure. 20 years ago…maybe even 10 or 15 years ago, I would’ve been through that gate without a second thought. Oh well. Somewhere in the far, far, far, far, far…..far distance I hear a voice telling me I did the right thing. I think.

Closing up after we left - seriously, we had permission!

Tonight when Christina complained because we wouldn’t allow her to swim in a cold and unclean pool, I told her that sometimes we have to accept disappointment; sometimes we have to do what is best, safe and right, even when we don’t want to and sometimes we need other people to help us do the right thing…like not breaking into construction zones on private property. That got a big smile and no more arguments about the pool.