All you don't know!!


It has been a bit of time since my last post! There have been graduations and travel and family and Father's day and today an anniversary!

Today is my husband and my 31st wedding anniversary and I am proud of it! We have worked hard to get to this point and it made me think about the title of this post....."All you don't know!"

As I was thinking about what to write, it made me ponder the beginning of our marriage. My husband and I were babies when we began our adventure. We got married at the young old age of 22 and really did think we were grown ups at the time. We knew we were ready to begin a new phase and get on with the adult stuff of life! HA! All that we did not know!

My husband and I had known each other a long time before we got married. We were the proverbial high school sweethearts, of course there were bumps along the way, and we were not together during all of that time, but for the most part we were. So, when the time came and it was our first wedding anniversary, we decided we were ready to begin this whole parenting thing. We wanted to be young parents so that we could have the energy and the physical ability to run around with our kids and enjoy their growing up. We were quite lucky I now realize, because we were pregnant right away! Our oldest daughter, Anne was born when we were 24, our second daughter, Megan, was born when we were 26 and our son, Bill, was born right after I turned husband is a mere baby and he was still 30! I always complimented him on his wisdom of marrying an older woman! So, there we have it. In a short period of time we were parents with a gusto!

Before my husband and I had our children we spent a great deal of time talking about what we thought our parenting style would be and how we wanted to raise our children. I do believe that exercise was important, but to be honest, part of that has to go out the window when the reality of parenting is at hand! I know in my first post I wrote what I thought were the tenets of good parenting; 1. Love unconditionally 2. Be the PARENT 3. Use the scary word "No" 4. Do not try to create the child in your image 5. Help each child find their own way and, 6. DO NO HARM

Upon review, I think those ideas are pretty good! I do not know that my husband and I consciously tried to practice all these tenets each and every day or even knew we were trying to accomplish those ideas. I do know that we were always trying hard to be mindful of what each day brought and how we interacted and reacted to and with our kids. Some times of course were lovely and some times were the EXACT opposite. I know that when we were all starry eyed and brought our first daughter, Anne, home that we had absolutely no idea what to do. I do not care how many parenting classes you take, you have NO idea what you are doing when you bring your first child home. I will give you this example. When Anne needed to be changed that first night she was in our exclusive care, we changed her on our bed and it took her peeing all over it 4 times before we got the idea, that "AH HA" that is not the best plan. Or course we did then put a towel down and that eliminated that problem. But of course, that was a relatively easy problem to solve and so off we went from there into the realm of parents and parenting.

As time has passed of course my husband and I have gotten much better at problem solving as parents then we were that first night. I would like to think we do not need 4 chances to get it right at this juncture! I will say that with the time we have spent parenting I do believe we have been able to do a lot well. We have put in the time and the work. I think that is the most important thing good parents do.

This past weekend, as it was Father's day, there was a letter to the editor in the Chicago Tribune that a son wrote about his father. The basic premise of the article was that this person, this son, came from a family of somewhat modest means and a family where the father had to work odd hours and sometimes 2 jobs. The mom had to work also, so the parents were quite busy making ends meet in all ways for their family. The subject of the article was about what really mattered to this man as he reflected on father's day and about his parents. His conclusion was that being present, being there, taking time was the most important gift his father gave to him. As this was a reflection on father's day the article specifically talked to an incident where this man remembered an important event in his growing up. He had a presentation to give and had asked his parents to please be there. His mom said she was sorry but his younger brother was ill and she had to attend to him. His father reminded his son that unfortunately he had to work different hours that day and would not be able to attend either. The son accepted that, but was of course sad. This man shared that as he was finishing his presentation, he looked up and saw that his Dad was standing right there in the audience, smiling at him and clapped furiously when his presentation was over. All these years later, that is what this man remembers. He remembers that his father somehow made it to this event that was so important to him. His father took the time, he made sure he was there. He was present.

So, in all that we often do not know as parents and for all that we can constantly learn and improve upon as parents, maybe the most important lesson is to just "Be there." Everyone can know that. Be there, be present, take the time. I would argue that is the most important part of parenting well. Although scheduling can be tricky, there is nothing hard about being present and being there. Take the time, be there for your children.

You never know, you may get asked to go on a road trip to Ohio to be there to help your daughter find a new place to live as she begins the next phase of her adult life and starts a new job and a new journey!

Until next time,