So we've encountered yet another stage of the maturation process in the Koppelman house today. My OS came downstairs in a shirt that looked eerily familiar. I said, "Is that shirt clean?" and instead of his usual, "Mom! It's fine." He said, "Why wouldn't it be? Do you think I'm disgusting?" I blinked a few times and then just gave him a hug. I can't believe my little boy doesn't want to be disgusting any more! They grow up so fast.
I'm trying to enjoy and savor every moment of this family, but time seems to fly by. Tonight we have a college meeting at school for parents and students in the 9th grade. On one hand, it is exciting as the kids transition through stage after stage. Some stages, of course, are better than others, but I'm always grateful to see them emerge with their character intact. Ideally, I pray that they grow into better, stronger, more insightful, spiritually connected people with each stage, but then I think that takes adversity. It really does. I mean, how much character and growth can a kid actually get without adversity? Of course, you can't create adversity, but it makes me realize how we can't completely protect them from it, either. So if I protect them too much, I am actually shielding them from adversity and therefore, character development!
A counselor friend told me something really valuable one time. He said, "Good parenting is when the world teaches your child the hard lessons, and you are there to pick them up and send them back out again." In many ways, that seems to be the antithesis of today's parenting. Modern parents seem to be all about sheltering and protecting, which is necessary, of course, but to what point and what end?
My YS left the house today in a completely unmatching ensemble of clothing--from his socks/shoes all the way through his pants and shirt. He actually began the day matching but after an unfortunate incident with dog food, he had to run up and change into the new and unmatching look. If it had been my first child, I would have gone back up with her to match the perfect thing. (which was a constant source of conflict between us--unnecessary conflict, I see now) For the middle two, I probably would have mentioned the unmatching-ness, but for my YS, I thought, "Does it matter?" In second grade, do the boys really need to match? Maybe the girls are into matching at this point, but the boys? So I let him go, happily, and he had more time to throw the football with his brother this morning than he would have if I had interfered with fashion advice. So I think I did the right thing. But who is ever sure? I can tell you this, though, if he comes home having learned a 'hard lesson', I will pick him up and send him back out again.
So tonight I will go and hear about the rigors of college preparation for my 9th grader, but I will take it all with a grain of salt. Because I forced those cute clothes on her, maybe I'll lay off on the cute college. Or if I've learned anything at all (from my own experiences or at least, Shakespeare), I'll forbid her from attending my first choice college pick for her. That should do the trick.
And I just might honor the request of the other three kids who will remain at home during the meeting--and let them have their favorite request- a yellow dinner, even though (horrors!) it contains no green vegetables. (Mac and cheese, pineapples and corn)
Because here's the thing I know about myself. I am a perfectionist. And in the true spirit of perfectionism, I am trying to improve myself by trying not to be such a perfectionist. OR neurotic. Or helpful. Depends on who you're talking to. And if I can get it through my thick skull that God has a great plan for my kids IN SPITE OF ME, I can relax and enjoy them a whole lot more.
Parenting is complicated, but fun. Don't miss a minute.
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I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.