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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Parenting Struggles....

I seemed to have had a lot of mentions/”requests” for blog posts recently and I have been feeling a bit guilty about abandoning my writing the way that I did.  Unfortunately, like others, life has gotten the best of me and my time is short and this activity fell by the wayside.  There are oh so many blog posts in my head, they just haven't yet made it to the (electronic) paper.  I hope this marks my return.

Today I found myself scrolling through my facebook timeline and reading a bunch of my old posts.  They made my heart swell.  I realized that blogging was giving me a way to capture the fleeting times in my life that are worth remembering.  I know that I should continue to do this.  For myself, for my girls and hopefully for others that get some pleasure out of reading my perspectives on life.

Reading through these posts has made me realize something that has been hitting me hard these days.  Parenting is a rough road. And it now seems like those earlier years were much simpler.  Ah, hindsight; you are 20/20 looking through rose colored glasses.

When your kids are young there are certain ways to “measure” how you are doing as a parent.  These milestones serve as reinforcers of a job well done.  Is your baby growing and thriving?  Is your baby sleeping through the night?  Does your baby have a good temperament and seem well rested?  Do you remember to always stock your diaper bag?  These questions have discrete answers and it is fairly easy to make changes or get advice if you seem to be misguided.

Now, step into parenting a 5 year old and a 7 year old (disclaimer: this is where I am now, and I’m sure that the teenage years will even be worse).  The discrete measures of successful parenting have fallen by the wayside.  Now you are basically guiding different decisions that your child is making.  But their personality is evolving and they now have opinions.   Some you may like, many you may not like and you may even have some regrets about things you have done or have not done in the past.  I have made decisions and given opinions that have shaped their personalities, good and bad.  Basically, just like in life, their road is being paved and as they are moving along as time continues.  There are some side streets that you may have passed that you can no longer turn down.  And this is where I am struggling.

I am watching my smart, kind and loving 7 year old trying to forge her way in the world.  She is going into 2nd grade.  I know this is only the beginning, but she is trying to figure out where she, like a puzzle piece, fits into a circle of friends, in sports, in school.   There seems to be a fork in the road in the near distance. 

Soon she will stop having playdates with all the kids in the class and she will find her group of friends. 
-I hope they are kind. 

Soon she will need to decide if she loves sports more than dancing or gymnastics.
-I hope she will find at least one of these things that she can excel in.

Soon it will be determined if she is good at math or reading or both.
-I hope she does not have to struggle in school.

Soon she will be teased or will feel left out.
-I hope she can weather that storm and it will make her stronger.

Soon she will be a leader or a follower.
-I hope she will be a leader and forge her own path.

Soon she will realize that some things can be perfect and some things can’t.  That some things can be fixed and some things cannot.
-I hope that this comes later rather than sooner.

Soon she will realize that she may not like the hair on her legs, or the shape of her belly.
-I hope her inner voice will accept her for who she is.

These are just some of the things that are on the horizon.  And they are scary.  And sometimes I am at a loss for the right words or the right answer.  So, I will continue to forge onward and try to direct her to the path that is more sun than storm.  There is no guidebook that leads to greatness.  But I hope this road that she travels will ultimately lead to her own happiness, as that will be the ultimate measure of a job well done.