I'm back from my vacation finally. It was great seeing Favorite Oldest Son and his family. I was beginning to have some serious "cat withdrawals," though. This was the longest I had been away from Mamzell since she joined our family.
This week I wanted to talk about a unique relationship. It's the relationship we have with our children when they are grown. I know many folks that never seem to see their children as adults. I think they are short-changing themselves AND their children when this happens.
My own father was guilty of that for many years. In hindsight, I can recognize that he was waiting for each of his children to...for lack of a better phrase...stand up to him. He wanted to see us be forceful about knowing who we were and what our personal values were.
In my early 20s, about a year after my mother passed away, he was talking to me on the phone. I was living in CA and he was in FL. While I won't share his exact words with you, suffice to say he said something that he never should have said to me. I got angry in a flash and told him I didn't want to hear from him again until he could talk to me the way he should, and without being tipsy.
The following two weeks were the longest of my life at that point in time. That is how long it took for him to call me back. I stood firm that he was in the wrong and owed me an apology. From that time forward my father treated me, finally, as the adult that I was. He still called me his baby...and I am okay with that. There is no shame being a Daddy's Girl! But our relationship changed for the better from that point forward.
I made myself a promise...I would not push my own kids to the point my father had pushed me. I wanted to be able to have an "adult" relationship with them when the time came.
When our kids are small, we watch them grow and we worry about every little thing that comes along. We agonize over our parenting skills, their schoolwork, their social interactions...everything.
This trip allowed me to watch my son with both of his children. For years I worried that my "tough parenting" would show up in a negative way in his own future. I worried about things that shouldn't have mattered, and didn't see some of the things that should have mattered. There will most likely always be a bit of that "mommy guilt" hanging around for me. Luckily, my boys love me and they say I worry about that stuff too much.
Watching Favorite Oldest Son with his two kids was a real joy. He is firm, while being gentle. He is loving, while at the same time guiding them through choices.
I can honestly say that even if he weren't my son, he would be someone I would happily call a friend.
The same goes for Favorite Youngest Son, too. While he doesn't have kids at this point, I'm sure they are in his future somewhere and he will be just as wonderful a dad as his brother has proven to be. Each of them has grown into a man that I am proud to call Son. They have served their country with honor via the US Army. This is a family tradition they have carried on proudly.
I encourage everyone to look at your children with the same eyes you would use to evaluate a new acquaintance. See them as adults first, your child second, and get to know them as an adult...not just a tall child that you happen to have rocked to sleep so many years ago.
Thanks for allowing me to share my story with you.
Please feel free to leave a comment, question, or your own story in the Comments. All commenters will go into the drawing for August!
AND THE WINNER IS.....
On that note, it is time to announce the winner for the month of July. For those just joining the blog, each month I will have Mamzell randomly choose a prize winner from all the commenters during that given month.
The winner for July is Sherry Prince. Congratulations! Please contact me at your earliest convenience to let me know which prize you would like...a canvas tote bag with The Road to a Dream logo on it, a T-shirt (XXL) with The Road to a Dream logo, or a $10 Amazon gift card. The choice is yours!
Until next week, take care of yourselves and each other...