The Evolution of a Parent

Hello All!

I again, have been off living life instead of sitting down and commenting on it. This morning, though, as my youngest daughter and I were conversing, I had a thought!

While talking with my youngest daughter Megan as she wrapped up another school year, it occurred to me how much of parenting is about evolving and growing through the process. The type of parent you are to your infant will not be the type of parent you are to your teenager, or to your adult child. What a great job! As a parent you get to try again every stage to get it right if you screw up the first time! I remember when our oldest child Anne, was in eighth grade and I got the inside info from another parent about shinannigans that had occurred the previous weekend. I will admit that it caused me great angst to think that my lovely daughter was messing up! The stories and situations and events that have happened since then with the growth process of our three children makes that event tame! We all made it though, through every painful and fun and hard evolution!

There we have it! As Megan was talking about watching all of her students this year struggle to find their identity as an adolescent....what a horrible painful process that can be, and what a lovely, exciting process that can be. The junior high years can be quite an ordeal....for all parties involved! Megan, herself, had quite a time of it, with me right there next to her. She of course made it through, I of course made it through, and so did both of our other children and my husband!

There is this saying that is so universal, and I think speaks to the right thought process for raising children. "Cherish your children for who they are, not for who you want them to be." Now, that does not mean that you let them do whatever they want, because that would be relinquishing your responsibilities as a parent. What it does mean is to pay attention, be involved and see what kind of paths your children might choose and help them find what fits them best, according to their lead. And even when needed, lock them up for the summer like we had to do with our oldest daughter one teenage summer...we made it through that too!

This past weekend I had the great fun of being on a trip with 4 woman I truly love. Each of them is different and each has their own personality and parenting style. The youngest of our group has a 12 year old son. He is her oldest. The phone calls she kept getting from him about where his soccer stuff was, was hysterical! She tried to keep calm, and she actually succeeded, but the rest of us were in hysterics ourselves having already passed that 12 year old mind and mentality with our children. The second youngest of the group, had phone check ins with her 17 year old, and that we all know is much more scary! She was trying to get the details of the first night of summer party for her now senior in high school...YIKES!! The other 3 of us were getting periodic check ins from our adult kids...and they were all good, which made our weekend lots more fun because we were not worrying about any of them....and we were occasionaly whooping it up they we were done with the teenage and 12 year old check ins....good thing we are all good friends or someone may have wanted to punch us!! :)

This process of parenting is lovely and wonderful and daunting. Just last month, I had the pleasure as well as the pain of having a very frank and open and hard conversation with my oldest daughter as she is planning her wedding. The conversation was a total success, and for that I am thankful, but it was also hard. I explained to Anne that having a child and being a parent is an impossible love, one she will only understand if and when she becomes a parent herself.

So, I guess my point today is to evolve. Evolve always in your own evolution of parenting and be open to the change that will be necessary for you to do the best job you can, at each and every stage along the way. Cherish your children for who they are and will become and need to become. Help them get there and be that by realizing it is about you and them growing and evolving and accepting the changes and challenges necessary to help each of you grow well....your child into an adult and you into a competent, loving example of a parent your child is proud of!

Good luck! I am going to try and follow my own advice as our oldest daughter is honored by Mayor Bloomburg in New York on July 12th!

Until next time,