We went to a graduation party this weekend. I met Barb when Melissa was going into to kindergarten. At the time she seemed so much farther along in her parenting journey. After all, I just a had one little baby. She had two kids and one was going to school! As the years went by and our friendship grew Melissa started to babysit for me, she got her driver’s license, and now, here we are, 12 years later celebrating that kindergartener that now is heading out to forge her own path in the world. All this left me pondering how this…
And before you know it you have one of these…
A graduate. The funny thing is I couldn’t help but think how young she still is. I kept thinking of how structured our children’s lives are up to this point. There is no contemplation as to what comes next. After first grade comes second, and third and fourth and so on. Even in twelfth grade they are being reminded to pick up their clothes, call their coach, remember their lunch, and do their homework. Then all of the sudden in between “Get your dirty socks off my floor!” and “You left the gas tank empty?” you slide in a casual “Oh, by the way, what are you going to do for the rest of your life?” The scary part is that by the time you ask that question it’s really too late to do any teaching on the subject. It has to be woven into every minute, every activity, and every mishap throughout their life. Even scarier is that you, as the parent, are responsible for doing this. You are an artist sculpting a blob of cells into a productive, caring, responsible member of society.
Everyday is an opportunity to prepare your children for the future. Some lessons are simple, like only touch the food you are going to take. Some are bigger. Like it’s okay to feel shy and assess a situation from the safety of those you trust, but eventually you need to trust yourself.
Dad’s are embarrassing, but you love them anyway.
Siblings are annoying until you get old enough to unite on one topic-your parents are more annoying.
Most importantly, friends are like elevators, they can bring you up or take you down. Pick them wisely and they may be a part of your life forever. More often though, they come and go.
By the way…you are young and cute and perky. I was you once. I said I wouldn’t be me. Now I am me, and you will be me too. I promise, you will. That’s what 20 years does to you. The lesson? Work on the inside because pretty soon your bathing suit will have more coverage than those shorts.
Your family(and those people who are around for so much and so long that you forget they’re not family) will be there forever.
Sometimes there are disappointments. Like you can’t swing forever. Eventually you have to get off.
Right on the heels of all this contemplation I had the opportunity to teach the right lesson. It was Sunday, the one day off of all our dance and gymnastics craziness. My house begged me to give it some attention. Those outfits in the back of the closet got worn and jammies got reused out of the dirty clothes because frankly that’s where every piece of current clothing was. The opportunity to meet my sis at the beach told my house to shut up and get to the back of the line though. Laundry does not walk away on it’s own, it will always be there. If your house isn’t in order that’s all the more reason to run from it. I want my kids to know how to prioritize and put people first and stuff after. That’s not to say I want them to ignore their responsibilities. It’s a funny thing though, after a day of relaxing and enjoying each others company it’s so much easier to get everyone to pitch in and help with the have to’s. Lo and behold, they don’t really take that long anyway.
The laundry is still waiting, but I squeezed in 2 loads of essentials. I’ll get to it eventually. It’s just not high in the priorities right now:)