Releasing and Letting Go

Over the weekend, my eight-year-old son (whom we call Monkey) was helping me clean the house. He lifted up a doily off of the end table, held it up to the light and proclaimed it looked like a rabbit. I affirmed his declaration and cautioned him to be careful because the doily was my grandmother’s. Monkey gave me a quizzical look, put the doily back on the table and continued dusting the next item.

I associate many items in my home with their original owner. The green afghan is not mine but my mother-in-law’s since she’s the one who made it. I feel the same way about the black and white afghan my sister-in-law made. It’s Doris’ afghan. The doily’s are Grandma’s, the nightstand is Mom and Dad’s, the cake stand is from the unnamed person who hosted the garage sale where I purchased it. I don’t know why I ascribe ownership this way  but I do with almost everything.

Everything except my kids.

lightstock_131755_medium_user_4017414

I’ve been told over and over my children belong to God, but it’s easy to believe and live as they are completely and totally mine.

I carried them for 9 months.

I gave birth to them.

I potty trained them.

I drive them to school.

I take them to clothes shopping.

I took them to the doctor and held them on my lap when they were sick.

You get the idea. (I don’t want to negate my husband’s role. He was every bit as present in our sons lives as I am). I don’t think I’ve fully comprehended or understood that these three hooligans belong to God; at least not on a heart level until recently. Our oldest is turning 18 next month. He’ll be legally an adult. He’s in the car so much going out with friends, to school, and to work. College and scholarship applications are on the horizon. He’ll have to register for Selective Service.

I’m scared.

Soon it will be time to release him to the world and as much as I’m looking forward to the days of just the hubby and I alone in our house, I don’t want to start letting go. It feels safer to have my boys here with us. Nothing gives me more comfort than to know each brown haired boy is in their own bed every night. But I can’t keep them here forever. They have to start forging their own path.

 

I can’t protect them. I can’t prevent bad things from happening and I can’t stop them  from making bad, or contrary, decisions. I can’t stop hurt from entering their lives.

I hope I’ve done right by my son, and by God. I hope I did the best parenting job I was capable of doing.

It’s time to trust God and my son.

So…how do I do that?

Advertisements

Why Do Our Best Stories Involve Property Destruction?

After a very long day of work, school, and freelance copy-editing, I looked forward to taking a long, hot shower and reading a book in bed.

Then I found this.

Towel Bar

I knew immediately who the guilty party was and would deal with him in the morning. In the meantime, I didn’t relish having to tell Rick, who was at his night class after a long day of work and doing an emergency repair on our roof.

Much later that evening, Rick and I started reminiscing over the years…

Which kid kept flushing paper towels down the toilet and we had to keep snaking the drain?

Which little boy took his crayons and colored on EVERY living room wall when I took a quick bathroom break?

Which kid was it who dropped toilet lid into the tank which busted a huge whole in the bottom that caused that massive water leak in the downstairs ceiling?

After the laughter subsided and Rick fell asleep, I realized at the time we were angry and annoyed. The kids didn’t listen which cost us money and time, and resulted in more work for Rick. But in time, we laughed at the memory.

This morning, when the two innocent parties saw the towel rod in the bathroom and learned it was caused by someone trying to zip-line his way out of the shower, we had a good laugh…after the guilty one was lectured and disciplined, of course.

I guess the lesson in this is to learn to laugh at life’s challenges. Quite a few of them become quite funny given enough time. I just wish our funniest family stories didn’t involve property destruction.

How about you, reader? What’s something that really toasted your biscuits at the time but is funny now?

Parental Doubts

The longer I’ve been a parent, the less sure I am of some of the decisions the DH and I made during the early years of mommy and daddyhood.

Take Halloween, for example.

When Jacob and Josh were young, we tried (oh how we tried) to get them excited about dressing up in costume and going trick-or-treating.

They hated it.

They never liked to wear costumes and they were terrified of knocking on doors for trick-or-treat. When they got home after a grand total of 2 houses, they would rip their costumes off as fast as they could and you could just see the stress and tension leave their little faces.

After we moved back to our hometown and Halloween arrived again, DH and I decided to not participate in the traditional Halloween activities for a few reasons:

  • The kids clearly hated it
  • Halloween is a DARK event. I’ve never enjoyed being scared, haunted houses, the references to the dead, gore or violent imagery. DH isn’t a fan either.

When the new church we became a part of announced their Halloween alternative event, we elected to do that instead. A local family opened up their farm to church families. There were games in horse stalls, pumpkin pie judging, cake walks, bonfires to roast hot dogs and marshmallows, etc. Our kids loved it and did we. We participated in this for several years.

For reasons unknown to use, the family event went by the wayside so our tradition become taking the kids out to eat and then to the grocery store to buy candy.

Then…we had Ben.

Ben started Kindergarten this year and this guy LOVES to dress in costume. Halloween is rapidly approaching again and we’ll have to talk with him on why our family doesn’t “do” Halloween. I still don’t like Halloween. There are many elements of it that make me uncomfortable and our family line has been “no” to Halloween.

But I wonder if we’re being too regimented about it. I know there are many fun elements to it and just because my older two didn’t like it doesn’t mean that Ben is the same way; and sometimes it seemed a bit mean to deprive our kids of the fun of dressing up in classroom parties.

DH is steadfast in our decision of no Halloween and I respect that.

Jacob is now in high school and Josh is in junior high. I asked them both if they feel that their dad and I were off base when we said no Halloween. They both said they liked the tradition of eating out and buying candy afterwards. I have no reason to doubt their honesty but I still wonder.

Did we rob them of a part of their childhood?

This post isn’t really about Halloween. I don’t judge anyone for participating so please don’t judge me for not.

I just wonder if anyone has made a firm decision in the early days of parenthood and after a few years…do you wonder if you made the right call?