You are NOT alone!

May. 24, 2017

I wasn’t prepared for this particular moment, and well, I’m disappointed. So disappointed that I’ve been speechless. Parenting is hard, and I’ve encountered so many ups and downs along my path, but for some reason THIS is harder. One and a half credits- that’s all that was needed, but he’s come up short. I’ve watched as every other parent is celebrating the big day, and here I sit, with hopes and dreams of one more semester, and then we will get our chance at graduation. I know I’m not the only one out there, but I’ve yet to hear anyone else say they are in this boat.

So today, I feel like I’m sailing alone.

It’s very difficult to watch your children make decisions that you know have some bad consequences. It hurts your heart and makes you a whole lot of angry! But still, there’s nothing we can do about it.

I can’t fix this for him. I can’t make it happen. I can’t run him up to the school to turn something in late.

And there, my friends, is where I messed up.

I overdid SO MUCH through the years, that when it was time for him to do it on his own, he failed. And in that, I failed him. No, not as a parent in whole, but in the ‘teaching him some important life skills of responsibility, drive, determination, and dedication’. He was never as dedicated to his education as I was. I get it now. I’m hoping as he sees all his friends celebrating, that he is ready to go back one last time, and celebrate as well. Better late than never. It’s taken me a while to accept that, but it is what it is.

SO…  here’s my words of advice.

Stop doing those projects FOR your kids! Help a little if you want, but it needs to be THEIR responsibility, and NOT the night before. I watch as parents post pictures of their child’s project, and I laugh, because there’s NO WAY your six year old erected this perfectly landscaped rainforest! I know parents who overdo the ‘helping’ thing way into middle school and even high school. I wasn’t that bad, but I was the ‘oh no, you forgot, let me run to the store at 8:00 pm parent’.

Stop managing their homework life. Set rules about when it gets done, enforce those rules from DAY ONE, and walk away. Always leave the door opened to help when needed, but don’t nag. If they can’t do that homework without you telling them to get it done every five minutes, then they need to lose those luxuries society now deems necessities. And there is no such thing as running them back to school to turn it in. Let them take the fail and learn a lesson!

Pay attention to their grades and demand ‘their’ best. God wants no less. Don’t accept anything else. Realize their best doesn’t always mean straight A’s people! It means true effort, 100%!

Don’t ever allow your little sports hero to get away with laziness because they know how to hit hard on the field. You teach them that they only have to work hard in one area, and not others. If their grades aren’t their priority, then sports can go. Along with that, and my biggest failure, was allowing him to wrap his ENTIRE identity in sports. It took one injury to end it all, and it left my son reeling in uncertainty. I totally own this, and so should many others.

I know it’s hard, but have those talks about sex, drugs, alcohol and anything else that peer pressure throws at them. The talk may not stop them from trying these things, but you’ll know you did what you needed to do. And I’m here to tell you, start talking before middle school, because all my four kids will tell you, middle school changes everything. Those innocent fifth graders experience a new life when sixth grade rolls around. They need to be prepared, and that is something you can help them with.

Here’s the hard one…for me and MANY parents out there.

Your child may seem like the cutest thing in the world to you. I’m sure they are adorable, but we’ve seemed to lose sight of what constitutes ‘brattiness’. If your child screams no at you at the age of three, you need to put a stop to it. They are doing it to their teacher at school, as well, and their friends. If crying gets your child their way, you’re doing it the wrong way! Your parenting habits move from the home to the classroom, and it’s NOT the teacher’s job to begin to teach your child how to behave and listen, they should enter school with a good idea of how to do these things.

(I know. I manage a church with a preschool, and I’m somewhat shocked by the behavior of what I see, so is my daughter when she is at functions with my granddaughter.)

It’s NOT ok that your child can’t follow a single direction. It’s not cute, it’s not acceptable, it’s not necessary, and I promise, you don’t need the headache! You will thank me later. Don’t fear hurting feelings over discipline. When it matters- your child will appreciate you for it (like when their 25! Big Grin

Our kids are entering college and every day is a tornado of ‘feelings’- especially in the realm of politics and society. Life IS NOT about feelings. I’m not sure what happened over the last few decades, but we must stop this nonsense! Where did common sense go? It’s been buried by the ‘feelings’ generations.

My son struggled with behavior from preschool on- I HAD ONE OF THESE KIDS. So I’m not throwing stones here, I’m speaking from the heart of a mom who knows! We nevermade him to understand he wasn’t the boss, he didn’t get to be rude or disrespectful. The same issues we suffered with at home, his teachers had to deal with. We lacked consistency, and suffered with the ‘he’s so cute’ parenting syndrome. I see it every day. I literally just watched a parent hand his preschool daughter a lollipop so she would stop crying! And he’s asked her about 10 times why she’s crying, with no answer! Yes I just used double exclamation points because my point is proven to me while I type!! (triple!!!)

While we are so busy coddling our children, they are growing and learning, or not learning, what they need to function as teenagers and young adults. They’ll figure out adulthood at some point, whether or not we teach them, and I hate to say it, but some don’t learn adulting at all…(guess where they end up living???)

Not every situation is the same. Not every child is the same. But having respect, being responsible and having boundaries can’t be rewritten to accommodate the delusional parent. I saw years ago where I went wrong, but I waited way too long to do what I should have been doing as a parent. Is my son’s inability to cross the finish line all on me, absolutely NOT. But I am willing to own up to my short comings as a parent. That’s my responsibility, and should be yours too.

Only we can change the course of the future, and it begins with raising able minded young adults. Yes, we can only do what we can do in raising them, but we must be doing at least that!

Aug. 28, 2016

This has been an exciting week! On August 25, shortly after 5:00 pm, I welcomed my third grandchild into this world. She came in strong and healthy, and instantly deemed a princess by all awaiting her arrival! Presleigh Grace is truly our gift from heaven!

My son, George, and his beautiful bride, Janelle, had elected to experience what the hospital called 'the golden hour'. This was a time of bonding for mommy and baby, dedicated to skin on skin contact, learning to nurse, and a quiet time for the new parents. Knowing this ahead of time, I asked my son to please send us a picture to see during that long hour of waiting. As an expectant 'grandmother', that hour seemed like five!

What our kids didn't know, as the delivery was taking place, was that we were all hovered at the door, listening for that first cry, crying together, laughing and enjoying those first moments of being new grandparents, together. It was a wonderful, wonderful experience!

As we all settled down, and began the walk back to the waiting area after she made her way into the world, the pictures began coming in. When I took my first look at that beautiful baby girl, I was in shock. It was as though I was looking at a picture of my son when he was born. I couldn't believe the resemblance, and I just kept staring at it and smiling. (Except her perfectly formed mouth..she has her momma's beautiful lips, and I could see that right away..)

While everyone else decided to head down and grab some dinner while we waited, I chose to stay behind. I just stared at that first picture and felt a sense of pride, love, and dedication to the new life the Lord had given us. I sat and shared the picture with my two closest friends via text, who had known my son for most of his life. I too a moment to consider the fact that my George was now a father, at 26 years old. I thought of what an amazing daddy he will be, too.

When that hour or so was up, and we were invited to join the new parents and meet our Presleigh for the first time, we all filed in one by one. There she was lovingly held in her mother's arms, my daighter in law had never been more beautiful, and never looked more content than when I saw her holding that baby. My son was beaming with a joy that I know he'd never experienced in his life. I watched as my mother shed tears at the new great-grandchild before her, and as grandma Julie asked momma how things went. I found myself so overwhelmed and happy, that I would clap my hands in excitement. Watching the smiles on every face in the room just touched my heart. (..and I continued this new clapping thing well into the next day!)

Then..

Janelle's father, Joe, walked into the room. I watched every second as though it was in slow motion. He walked up to his daughter, needing to confirm that she was ok. I watched as he gently laid his hand upon her shoulder, then on the baby, and lightly stroked both. I watched as he smiled from ear to ear. It was a deeply profound moment to watch a daddy look at his baby girl, now a mother, and experience that deep connection for myself. As we began the ritual of taking more pictures than we can count, I noticed one thing..

Papa Joe never took his hand off his daughter, or his eyes of his first grandbaby.

I couldn't stop thinking about it all night, how blessed and honored I was to witness a father's love in one of life's greatest moments.

See, I had no father. I had no daddy to rush to my side to see if I was ok. I had no daddy to share in moments of graduation, or marriage, or becoming a mother for the first time. I've seen a few moments throughout my life of 'daddy-daughter' times, but this one stood out for me.

For what I saw that particular night was exactly how I imagine my Father in heaven loving me. Always having one hand holding me, and his eyes always upon me.  While I compared that picture of Presleigh to her daddy, my son, I will forever compare that moment of watching Joe with his daughter, to my Father above, loving me.

This was an unexpected message, delivered at the perfect time in my life. A reminder of my Papa's sweet, tender and complete love. In the midst of our own elation over the birth of this new perfect child, I was profoundly impacted by a father's perfect love for his own beautiful, grown child.

I now comprehend something about my own relationship with God that I may never have truly understood before.

If our mission in life is to Know Jesus, and Love Like Him, I'd say I witnessed that in a rare and special gift right there in the middle of a hospital delivery room. It was a priceless jewel deposited in my memory bank, and one I will never forget.

Glory to God, and thank you Papa Joe.

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

 

Deuteronomy 31:8

 

 

 

Jul. 12, 2016

Three years ago today our Harlee Rae miracle came home from the hospital! She was eight pounds at the time, which was incredible since she started this life at just over a pound. She had oxygen in her nose, but other than that, she was fine.

Fast forward to 2016- she’s now 3 years old, laughs all the time, runs, plays, talks, and loves us all dearly. She is truly a sweet blessing from above.

I call my grandchildren my ‘apples’- because they are the apple of my eye. I love them more than words can express. I love to watch them grow, have conversations, and watch as they learn more and more!

This weekend we took both of the apples away to the mountains. They had the best time sightseeing, riding up the mountain in a gondola, going to town for ice cream and to the toy shoppe, and then spending Sunday in Papa’s boat. They smiled and laughed and brought us so much joy that we often glance at each other, and just grin.

Our oldest grandbaby is Zaiden, who is now five years old! With his big blue eyes and sweet personality, he’s absolutely adorable. Saturday night we were all sitting on the couch and Zaiden put his arms around my and papa’s back, and said, “You guys are my best friends.”

And I melted.


 

Mark 9:36-37 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”.


 

I have welcomed these babies into my life from day one. They are loved beyond words. Even when Nanny is firmly setting boundaries, teaching wrong from right, and holding them to some pretty high standards, they know my love. My heart has been theirs these past few years.

Hindsight makes today’s vision quite clear, right? What we never saw all those years ago, well, it’s flashing in neon today. It’s easy to look at these beautiful babies and know just what needs to be done to make sure they have an idea how life works, but I struggled in some areas with my own kids.

I look around at today’s young adults and see how things have changed, and it’s not always for the better. I’ve seen a work ethic shift, adulthood time frame shift, respect become an obstacle rather than an expectation, courtesy an unexplored word, and the concept of compassion- not sure what has happened there. And no, it’s not every individual, but from all my watching and seeing, it’s far more than I would have hoped.

We must welcome children in the love of Jesus Christ. And I have to tell you, Jesus loved in discipline, honesty, truth. He loved those who hadn’t only ‘made’ mistakes, past tense, but were smack dab in the middle of making mistakes right then and there. He never desired to leave anyone behind in their sins. Often telling those he loved to go and sin no more. He loved the woman at the well, he loved Zaccheaus.. He loved the sinners!

My apples have taught me so much about myself. Things I never saw while raising my own kids. Life is short, and we must strive to live fully every day- loving in truth, honesty and discipline. This is how the future brings about a positive growth in a world swirling stagnant in the muck of ‘self’ and every decline that living in self, brings.

Welcome the children, love the children, start with one soul at a time… but start today.

May. 12, 2015

Mother’s day has come and gone. Many received fancy gifts made by the precious hands of their own children, (I miss those days!), others received new gadgets, roses, chocolates, dinner out (I had one of those!) or cards with sweet words of thanks and silly words of love.

All these gifts are wonderful, thoughtful and kind. This year was different for me, but amazing. No kids screaming “Happy Mother’s Day!”- all my kids are grown. The one kid that still lives at home was away for the week. Not even my husband was there to kiss me and say something sweet. I woke up to kisses from my puppy dog, and a silent house.

So when I walked into church with the chocolate fondue set up, yummy chocolates around the tables and pink lemonade, and asked my oldest son and his wife, “What’s going on?”  They both laughed and said, “It’s Mother’s Day!”

Oh ya!

It’s Mother’s Day. May 10, 2015. Four days after one of the biggest scares of my life. My mom- the rock of my life, the laughter behind my biggest smiles, the fire behind some of the loudest arguments of my life- my mom had been released just three days prior after having a heart attack.

Her life, on this Mother’s Day, is her gift, and it’s my gift that mattered most. So after I left church, I went to her house and spent the afternoon sitting side by side on her loveseat, watching a movie, eating burritos she was so happy to make- (with some minor diet safe changes). We talked, and laughed and shared a day together, she had one dog on her lap, and I had the other!

We are blessed beyond measure because on Tuesday, May 5, 2015- God said, “Nope, not yet!”

 And she received a miracle.

My gifts that matter most are my children. Through the maze of growing up they’ve each journeyed.  One after another, passing the milestones- marriage, children, purchasing new cars, renting their own homes (trying to save to buy a new home!!)..  They are gifts that have made me who I am, through our best days, and through the worst.  They are my loves, each one individual but each one equally sown in the fabric of my being, to the depths of my soul.

These gifts are gifts that matter most- my mom’s heart beating to a whole new drum, and my children living and experiencing life in whole new ways.

And don’t get me started on my grandkids, those little apples will take another hour!!!!

Apr. 11, 2015

When you have children, your day is often dependent on their needs, their temperament, their health, and every meal probably should be based on nutritional requirements (hahahaha)…So here I sit, after 25 years of parenting four children, and the last one is nearing 18, I’m at a whopping “what now” plateau.  As I await the next year and half to pass, I wonder what the new me will do. I had my first son as a teenager, a young teenager, I’ve known no life without kids, and I am beginning to wonder what my everyday will now look like.

I have wrapped my entire being into motherhood. Whether I did a good or bad job, it was still the job I had. I have many that will tell me I did fine and a couple others that will make me question everything I did at every turn. I had a family that supported me and others that really didn’t. I had years of being a single mom, then years of learning to be a married mom. I graduated high school, then college, worked my way into the corporate arena, then took a couple years to just stay home and be a mom. I re-entered the work force after those years, then made some personal choices about work that more closely parallel my desires as a family woman. I now work full time, with excellent hours that allow me to cater to my family and home, and just relax when needed.

This is my story. What is written between the lines? How did I manage the trials of parenthood, and what could I have done different (not because I was a bad mom, but because there is always room for improvement and hind sight is 20/20) Did we combine our families well, did we allow outside interferences to put cracks in the foundation we were trying to build? My son once said, “Mom, the only thing you did wrong was not be strict enough.” Huh! And Wow! He is right, this, again, is a hind sight issue. If only, if only..if only.

As a woman, a woman who has dealt with bipolar disorder for the better part of her life, I’ve struggled to balance all the balls of daily living. What I know, is that I’m not alone. Even those out there with the disguise of ‘most well put together, organized, and able’, have fought the waves of life. You can’t play pretend forever; eventually the balls come falling down. As I prepare my mind and my heart for the next phase of life, one that doesn’t include school work, football practice, chores, and doing everything I can to teach character, respect, honor and discipline, to name a few, I also give thanks. For while I taught those life lessons (even if they didn’t stick), I was actively participating in a new life, a new contribution in this world. I am thankful that no matter what my age when I started the momma journey, God trusted me and led me through each tunnel, up every mountain, down every hill and around every bend. He listened while I ranted, caught every tear, laughed along with every laugh and answered many, many prayers along the way.

Without God, where would we be? How would a mom of today’s society make it through? We are certainly battling some outside elements, and I know, at least for me, the boxing gloves are getting heavy, my mind is tiring of trying to figure things out and my legs are exhausted from running! Without God’s ever present help in these times, I’d have been crushed years ago, and as broken as fine china hittin concrete!  Whatever the future holds, I know I am capable, because I’ve made it through this!