Thursday, August 25

Lessons in parenthood

It's that time of year again, folks. School has begun around here, and that means alot of getting up early, going to bed earlier than we'd like, and your basic disruption of all that is fun. Boo!

My kids like school just fine. Unfortunately, their just like their Momma, in that they hate having to go somewhere like school (or work) when they'd rather be playing with friends and having no schedule at all.

Every year, along with the start of school and all that entails, there's one other thing that starts up this time of year. And I dread it every. single. year. PARENTING!!

I don't mean the normal "eat your veggies" or "it's your bedtime" type stuff. That's fairly easy parenting stuff for me. I'm talking about those times when it would be so much easier if I could just be their friend and give them one more chance. You know, one more chance after the hundreds of chances they've already been given, but most of the time didn't even know they'd received it? It would mean avoiding that hateful stare I get when they don't get their way. Avoiding the feeling that I've somehow disappointed them, and that they might never, ever forgive me.

Obviously, parenting occurs all year round. But once school starts, there's more structure, deadlines, and stress. And lots less time to play with friends and just be. So, at least around here, there seems to be an uptick in the number of times I have to keep my kids' feet to the fire (so to speak) once the school year begins.  

Do you know why I always end up choosing to be the parent over being the friend? I remember that I truly care how well they turn out. I want them to be great people, and I want everyone they meet to think that they are, too.

When I was going through cancer treatments, there were many times that I just wanted to be their friend and do the fun stuff. I just didn't want them to remember me as the mean mom. I was afraid that I'd be dead before they could have very many good memories of their mom. It was a horrible place to be!

Now, 5 years out, I see the rewards of being their parent, even when I didn't want to. They're responsible for themselves (as much as a 10 and 7 year old can be.) They're respectful of others. They have their own ideas of how to get things done and how to treat people. And they surprise me with their insights into relationships. My kids are really great people!

Thinking about the bigger picture and seeing the results of that are endlessly rewarding. No one ever said that parenthood would be easy. But I don't think it's possible to express to others how much joy and happiness you receive in return.

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