Even without my glasses on and trying to read from my Blackberry's tiny screen, I felt the article at the end summed up what I have learned from parenting better than I could say it.
I don't know about parenting birth children. I don't know about parenting with a spouse. I don't know about parenting babies.
I only know about parenting older children from a foreign country as a single parent. I have to say it is the hardest but by far the best job I have ever had. It is so good that I wish I could do it full time and not be distracted by things like jobs, but I know I have to set the example for my daughters and one of those things is having a job. I digress....
Yesterday Annabel and I went to the grocery store together. She is always ready to go, it rarely matters where.
For whatever reason she stuck to me like glue. I could not move the basket without rolling over her feet. Everything I tried to do was amusing to her, which grew tiresome very quickly, especially since I was tired when we got there.
This is when I wonder if the loop playing inside my head is being heard by anyone else. I recognize that it is me, not her, with the problem. I finally sent her to buy me some coffee from Starbucks to buy a few minutes to breath and ask for patience in a quiet prayer.
Recently I was reminded by Annabel's ever brilliant tutor, that Annabel has been through enough in her life.
She spent her first 11 years trying to please everyone so she could survive. That's a HUGE job for anyone, but to know that it is required just to survive, not even trying to thrive, but so you can have food, shelter, and what little affection you can get, you are required to please people and do it from infancy, well it must have been overwhelming at times.
So with the tutor's voice in my head also and knowing God would help, we got out of the store without incident.
We got home, started dinner, and I made a quick escape with a short bike ride, but left Annabel to make brownies on her own. I know better, but was really in a hurry to ride before our cornbread chili pie was done, so did not check with her that she understood exactly how to make the brownies.
When I came back, she had that deer in the headlights look and casually mentioned she might have put in too much oil. Yes, three times the amount is too much. She tried to fix it by stirring it a LOT!
We ended up adding the other 2 boxes and making a HUGE recipe of brownies. I know she knows I am annoyed but verbally I keep saying that it is a mistake anyone can make and I appreciated that she tried.
I get all teary eyed when I talk about Annabel and cannot even explain why. I know more times than not that I fail but I keep reminding myself that even though I am unqualified, I keep showing up!
Unqualified, but Still Showing Up
October 3, 2010by Janet Morris Grimes Share 7 Comments I read recently the following quote by Tom Peters: “There is no such thing as a minor lapse in integrity.”
The same is true for parenting. Being a parent is not something that you clock in and do only during your waking hours. It is much more of the person you are; day in and day out. Not only does it take over your waking hours, but permeates your sleeping hours as well. Parenting rules your work week as well as your weekends; your lazy days and busy days. It determines where you live, how you spend your time, and your thought process throughout each day. Not only does it become who you are twenty-four hours a day, but only when you multiply that by the number of days in the rest of your life, do you begin to get the picture.
And this can be a comforting thought.
Always present, and always aware, your children remain in the shadows, picking up on your good habits as well as your bad ones. They have a front row seat to your tough days in progress, but they are also there to witness your victories. They are the first to detect a bad temper, financial problems, health problems or an upcoming major family change. They are also the first to celebrate with you when you overcome these challenges.
I recently saw an Australian television commercial called “Make Your Influence Positive.” It shows scene after scene of a child following in the footsteps of his or her parent. A mom with a cigarette in her hand, and a child doing the same. A father passing by a lady who needs help, and his son does the same. A mother yelling at her infant to stop crying, and her daughter does the same. Though this particular commercial demonstrates the negative side of the influence that a parent holds in the life of a child, the opposite is also true.
Our children recognize how we live, the way that we love, and the times we choose to do what is right, especially when no one else is looking. They sense our motives behind our actions. They recognize the unspoken dreams we still long to pursue. They notice the moments when we rise above our own needs to touch the lives of those around us.
Our kids are influenced much more by our actions than by our words; our hearts more than our habits; by what we do not say as much as by what we do.