Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Coming Full Circle

My 2 oldest, "Diji" and "Doodle", 
Christmas 2001.  Things were so 
much simpler back then! : )
I am the proud mother of 5 healthy, beautiful children, ranging in age from 17 to 1.  I started out the road to parenthood quite unexpectedly, when I became pregnant and gave birth to my oldest son, "Diji", at just 18 years old.  At that time, I had this unrealistic expectation that I was going to do everything right!  I was not going to make the same mistakes my parents made with me.  I was not going to be unreasonable with him, I would understand him and where he was coming from.  I planned to be open and honest with him so that he would always feel like he could come to me if he had a problem.  I was going to teach him right from wrong, to get good grades, and make good choices.  However, I planned to be understanding with him when mistakes were made, and I would never treat him as though he should be perfect all the time.

I was only a teenager when he was born, and at that time I didn't have the ability to understand what it was my parents were doing.  I knew they loved me, but I always felt as though they wanted me to be smart and perfect all the time.  I felt like I wasn't understood, that they never listened to me, and never took my feelings into consideration.  Looking back, they were just being good parents.  It wasn't that they weren't listening to me, or didn't take my feelings into consideration.  It had everything to do with the fact that they were watching their oldest daughter make terrible decisions, and because of this, they no longer trusted her judgement.  As a teenager, I knew my decisions weren't good, but I felt as though it was my life and I should be able to make my mistakes, learn from them and move on.  I didn't understand how my decisions and my lack of good judgement hurt my parents and family.  I was selfish, stubborn, and naive.

Fast forward to 17 years later, I am now aware of exactly what my parents were going through.  I am now raising 2 teenage boys (17 & 15), and a preteen girl (age 12).  Of the entire 18 year period that it takes to raise a child, adolescence is by far the most challenging stage.  I now look up at my two boys, who both tower over me at almost 6 feet tall, and I see them looking back at me with the same anger and disgust that I used to show my parents.  My boys are going through a stage where they are asserting their independence, constantly reminding me they are no longer babies and that they know what their doing.  All the while I know better.  They may be almost adults, but they don't yet have the ability to understand how the world works, much less understand how the choices they make today can affect the rest of their lives.  Teenagers think in terms of today, and figure they'll deal with any repercussions later.  I was there once, so I understand what they are going through but at the same time the more I explain to them what I have learned though my life experience, the more they dig in their heels and remind me that it's their life...

Amazing how life has come full circle!  Let's just say I have apologized to my parents for what I put them through.  At least now I know that someday, my kids will understand.

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