Monday, March 7, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Cara: Parenting Re-do

Dropping the Diva off this past Friday for a college weekend experience has me playing over our parenting "skills" or "style" over the past 18 years (she will be 18 tomorrow). People had asked if I cried when I left her there. No, not at all. I know she is sooo ready to go to college.

She is mature, confident and has really had enough of the high school experience and the issues of living in a one horse town. She wants to experience new things, new people, new places. Part of me thinks, "OK you are done. We have done our job with you now off you go." Although deep down I know we are not done and "big kids-big situations" thing will always come back to bite me.

As I watched her talk to the college people (they talk to her not me...a new thing I will have to get used to!) she is polite, funny and engaging. Check. Job well done. As with all my kids I can give you a check list of what we have done right. As I am sure you can give me a list of what you did right as a parent.

But since I usually keep it real, even in my head, I think about what we didn't do so right. I hope the right outweigh the wrong...but I think about the  "if I knew then what I know now.." which I do about a lot of things lately. I know that really accomplishes nothing. Hindsight is 20/20, Monday morning quarterbacking and all that.

I think, we gave them security of a good home, humor about life and the ability to laugh at themselves, the notion that they remember they are not the only person in the world and you need to think about other people too, how to be a good friend, how to behave when we aren't there. Those are some of the good things...

But, maybe we should have taught some of them the value of money better, and maybe not have made it so easy for them to have what they wanted. Maybe we should have pushed harder and not let them give up on things, which causes them to have regret (and so do we). Maybe we should have told them you get more flies with honey and don't need that attitude all them time. (Something I didn't learn til later in life) Or maybe we should have told them more often that's it's OK to put yourself first and not always play as a team and do the "right" thing, because sometimes that gets you no where fast. (who knew?) As a friend of mine just said "Doing the right thing is overrated sometimes." True that.

When it came to the little one I thought well here's one more chance to do it all right. Yeah, no. Do I know what to sweat and what not to sweat? Sure. But every one of my kids are so different and they bring to us individual sets of issues, and times when we are right on...score one for the parents! But they also bring us new heartbreak, thinking if we had only done it this way or that way it would have been better. If only we could have prevented their sadness or the doings of outside influences that break their spirit. Some days I feel like SuperMom and some days I feel like a failure. Thank goodness the latter days are far between, but they cut me deep and it takes me a long while to find my way back.

I don't have regret when it comes to how we parented. I just maybe want a re-do for some things, kind of like a make-up test. A second chance. But like with most things we only get one chance to do it right. We just have to hope we get it right. So onward I go. Fingers crossed.


Lisa Kennedy said...

Happy 18th to you and to Diva! It is a big one for sure. One thing I know for sure Cara is that you adore your children and that is one hell of a start in life!

Jack turns 18 in a few weeks too and it is so bittersweet. I know he is ready and I am excited for him..but the memories come rushing in, don't they? All the firsts.. First trip home from the Hospital, First sleep through the night, crawling, walking, Christmases and lost teeth,kindergarten and so many more.
I am the LEAST Mushy woman on the planet and it puts a tear in my eye!

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