Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Long Road of Parenting

This weekend we spent an hour or so shoveling my father in law's driveway.  The boys all came along to give us a hand.

Well, one of them gave us a hand.  He was hoping to get it done as quick as possible because he wanted to hit the sledding hill.

The other two decided it was a great opportunity to have a snowball fight and wrestle in the snow.  At one point my 10 year old was buried chest deep in snow, courtesy of his older brother.

I love watching my boys play.  Sometimes I feel the oldest gets too rough with the youngest but it all seems to work out in the end.  My youngest has quite the little mouth on him and doesn't let his big brother get the best of him too often.  I was thinking the other day that they don't really get along, then I realized they get along perfectly for who they are, this is how they love each other.  Without this interaction they wouldn't have anything to do with each other.

I often wonder what their relationship will be like when they get older.  They are all so very different from each other and I've always hoped they would be supportive of each other later in life.

I know I have no control over this.  It's taken me a long time to realize (and admit to myself) that nothing I do or say can change how my children see each other and view their individual lives.

When they were younger I tried to make everything fair and square.  Trying hard to show them all that they were loved equally, and at the same time loved as the individual that they are.  I didn't want them to think that I loved one more than the others.  Didn't want to give one more attention than the others.

The reality is that they all require different levels of attention, among other things.  My oldest was never one to have us sit on the floor and play with him, my middle boy is very social and almost always needs a friend over, my youngest needs my attention almost constantly.

Trying to keep things "even" was the most stressful thing I could have done to myself.  I constantly questioned why I reacted one way to one child and another way to the other, why one punishment was sufficient for one and something more drastic was called for, for the other.

As a young Mom, my focus was on perfection.  Raising children who would successfully contribute to society, as well as make good and loving husbands and fathers.

Today, as a Mom who is more aware of herself and the lessons that life has for us.  I spend a lot of time with my boys just "being".  Talking about real stuff, doing things that make them feel loved and appreciated and listening to their stories, ideas and dreams.  We also spend a lot of time debating (okay arguing) and trying to convince each other that we need to let go a little and let everyone grow.

This is most likely a natural progression and not a really big deal.  It feels like it's taken me forever to get here though.  To appreciate being a mother and to appreciate all that I have learned from this role.  And to appreciate all that my children have taught me along the way.

It's certainly been a long road, and there is still much more to go.

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