An Old Buzzard

Tuesday afternoon I had to have a tooth pulled.

As Ann, the dental hygienist and I were waiting for the Doctor, we talked about parenting.  She has two kids, a 13 yr old daughter and an 10-year-old son.  She alluded to there being quite a bit of tension in their household between the daughter and them.

When I have these conversations, I feel  like an old buzzard on a tree limb watching  as a young family tries to navigate their way through those teen years… I can see the lay of the land in a way that they can not from my perch.

It doesn’t take much to tap into the confusion and anger I felt when I was the one trying to figure out my way through that wilderness.

Pause.

I got a call yesterday from my eldest.  She is 36.  She called me in the middle of the morning, just to visit. Said it had been a while and she was thinking about me.  We talked for 10 minutes about grand kids, her part-time job, honey bees…

She (my eldest) has the most infectious laugh, and laughed several times while we talked.  I thought about that phone call several  times throughout the day. It gave me the warm fuzzies.

When I got home later, my wife mentioned within the past two days, she has had really good visits with all four of our now grown kids.

If you are a parent, and your kids are still in the home, (and even if they are not)  one of the long-term goals you probably  have, is that after they become adults, you and they stay in touch.

Just healthy peer to peer relationships…how does that sound for a parenting goal? 😉

I have that and I take absolutely no credit for it.

I struggled with knowing how to keep the balance when they were in the house between being their parent, and being their friend.  There is a difference.  Yes, the long-term goal is friendship, but that is second compared to being the parent.  Sometimes being the parent means taking a tough stand, when your feelings tell you otherwise.

It wasn’t until one of my “dear, sweet” children, ran away that I realized,  just because we birthed them, did not mean they automatically respected us.

They too were just trying to find their way.

That experience was a watershed moment in my life as a dad.

I gave that child two choices..and neither one of them involved coming home, (initially).

Every family, every, parent/ child relationship has its own dynamics.   There is not “one size fits all” when it comes to raising kids.

One relationship that helped keep me sane was another dad who was also dealing with an out of control older daughter.  He got it.

Our culture did a crappy job preparing me to parent in a healthy way. What I longed for was real advice from real parents, who were dealing with the same issues, just further along on the trail.

Beware of both extremes…being too heavy handed, or too nicey/ nicey.

Eventually, all four of our kids did reach adulthood (alive) and eventually, got the partying, out of their system.

The human brain does not really mature until about age 25, so give them some time, even after they move out.

Parenting is like baking cookies.

My first born batch (or three) felt like I was  flying by the seat of my pants… by number four, I  started to relax.

 

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10 thoughts on “An Old Buzzard

  1. How about a wiser, older owl rather than a buzzard DM? I don’t think you’re really the lurking, skulking, ready to pounce type are you? Whoever it was that said parenting is the hardest job ever was so right, but we can only do our best and hope that will be enough, and give ourselves permission to fail as well.

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    • I do think it is the hardest job (parenting). You’re right I don’t feel like the lurking/skulking/ pouncing type. It’s just I feel bigger than an owl in my head.. The parenting gig “weathered” me intensely…which is probably why I think of a buzzard..

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  2. Well, I give you a lot of credit, DM! And I give pretty much every parent I ever meet a lot of credit…there are times when it feels/looks/is moderately easy, and other times (and many of mine, I am sure, are still in the future) when it is incredibly hard. It sort of amazes me when you see parents, beaming, with their grown children, and grandchildren, and realize that the vast majority had to ride over some huge bumps to get where they are. LIFE ain’t easy! And then it is, and we forget for a while…;-) til the next thing comes along!

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    • Ain’t that the truth…(we forget the pain) until we find ourselves on the same roller coaster again….someone shut this darn thing off….

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  3. My former wife won in court full custody of our offspring.
    To be honest that was the best thing to happen.
    What really upset everyone though was I didn’t contest that.
    I had my reasons, all for the good of the kid too.
    A broken mind is no place for kids to be raised around.

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    • the two choices were these…Option#1 find and enroll into a boarding school. Option #2. Go to live for 2 weeks with a relative who we knew was strict…they lived several hours away. My reasoning was this…since the child did not value our home life @ that point, and chose to run the risk of putting our family on the radar with some state child agency, which could result in the rest of their siblings having to end up in some kind of foster care situation. you never know… it was a watershed/ turning point in our family relationships. Up until then, I figured if I were their “friend” then everything should work out fine. Sometimes Parenting involved not being their “friend” short term…*(at least it doesn’t feel that way) even though you do love them…tough love can be hard to administer sometimes… Let me think about some parenting stories…I think I’ve tried to block that period of life out of my brain. there are 20 year of my life, that are sort of fuzzy 🙂

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