Well here we are day five, thing five. Of what I would say to my mom if she were still here. If I could spend just a day speaking with her again. Things that I have uncovered since she has passed, mostly things within in myself. Lessons I learned from her, lessons I learned from watching her be a mom. That’s what kids do, they watch and they learn. They absorb what they see, what they hear, what they feel, what they sense and it rolls around inside their heads and their hearts. And pretty soon, values are formed. What is right, what is wrong. Opinions are formed. What they like, what they don’t like. Sometimes there are good examples and other times there are not so good examples. And that’s where thing five comes in…
#5 Mom, you did a lot of great stuff, but you also did some not so great stuff. Now, let me start by saying that I do not plan to detail the not so great stuff. Cause guess what? We ALL have it. Each and every one of us. We all make mistakes and we all could do better. So please Mom, don’t get defensive because that is not what thing five is about. It’s about accepting the not so great stuff. It’s about understanding the not so great stuff. And finally, it’s about learning from the not so great stuff. Some of the not so great stuff caused me to grow up pretty quickly. And I am just now learning about the role that has played in my life. And I could say that I know you did the best you could with what you had blah, blah, blah, but you know what? I wish you would have done better. Really. I do. And it’s ok for me to say that because I was shaping my existence and my being after you. All eyes on you. All ears on you. I know, those are some tough shoes to fill – I live it everyday with your grandsons. They see everything I do, they hear everything I say, they feel whatever I project – love, compassion, and kindness or anger, irritation, and frustration. All eyes on me. All ears on me. And I sincerely hope that they love and trust me enough to be able to tell me one day what they wished I had done better. So I can help them do better.
Let’s face it, the stork doesn’t include an instruction manual when dropping off that bundle of joy. We do the best we can. We do what we learned from our parents. But, what if we did something different? What if we learned how to be better parents by listening to our kids? We are so busy telling them how to do this, don’t do that, stop it, come here, because I said so. As a matter of fact, one Saturday a few weeks back, I had a moment of clarity when I realized that I had said “stop it” about 25 times in 15 minutes. Why, you ask? Because they were being boys. Cushions and pillows were pulled off couches in a pile in the middle of the floor. Next, any and all blankets were thrown over the banister from upstairs onto the pile. They were jumping on the pile. Jumping on each other. Laughing. “Stop guys. Boys, stop it. I mean it. Stop. You guys, I told you to stop.” Finally, I said to myself, “No, you stop. They need this right now. They aren’t hurting anyone or anything. They are having a blast. So what you are going to have to put all this crap away after they move on to something else.” So, I stopped.
Why don’t we listen to the guidance our kids are giving us right now? We assume that as the parents we know best. Maybe just maybe they might have some insight as to what they need or what we could do better for them. Maybe they can help us to not screw them up completely and we can all avoid grueling therapy sessions down the road. They tell us everyday what they need from us and how we can do better, but the question is are we listening? Are you listening? I thought I was, but I question that sitting here now. I can do better. They deserve better. Starting now. For what it’s worth.