Friday, January 1, 2010

letting go and trusting

happy new year.  we are only a couple of hours into the new year and i'm exhausted......our grace, 14, is out at a friends, for a new years party and sleepover. i asked all of the good parenting questions,  basic questions, like ....are her parents going to be home?, who else is invited?, what time? and after we talk to her mom, i'm sure you can go.   i trust my sweet girl.....i trust her good friends....i trust the mom and dad at the home she'll be staying.  there will be boys and there will be supervision.

i remember being a freshman in high school.  i remember alot.  i remember my behavior. i remember lots of the girls and boys i hung out with.  i remember the lessons i learned.....about friendships, trust, responsibility, staying honest and true to myself. i remember trying to do the right thing and not always doing it.  i .  remember knowing the difference between right and wrong.  i remember peer pressure and trying to act cool.  i remember some of the girls changing everything about themselves, around boys.  i remember being disappointed in friendships, i remember feeling like i was the only one in the world who wasn't perfect or model beautiful or confident.  i remember wanting a boyfriend so badly. i remember not  feeling pretty enough to have one. i remember thinking the boys liked other girls more than me .  i remember feeling like there was no one in the world that i could trust.  i remember  thinking my family was not as great as their family.
i know those are all of the same feelings that girls have today...only, girls today seem to have all of these feelings magnified.  i know this is a time where my litttle girl is going off independently, making choices everyday that will lead her down her own path.  it's her path and i can't pave it or sweep it for her. as parents, all we can do is trust her and pray that we have taught her well and showed her by example.  i want to tell her all of my mistakes and save her from the difficulties and dramas and delicate feelings.  but, that would be a disservice to her and to her character.  i love her so much, it's hard to let go......but that's all we can do is let go and trust her to know the right thing to do or learn the harsh lessons that come when poor choices are made.

our son t.j., 13 is at home with us tonight.  he is growing too. he is feeling as though we are not the parents he would like us to be. he is frustrated with us.  he is great at letting us know his feelings.  he is frustrated with his life.  he wants to be better....he wants to be the best at some things and doesn't feel that he ever will. we talk and talk.  he yells and tells us his strong feelings and emotions. it is so hard to hear our son be so hard on himself.....he doesn't see his own strengths....he doesn't know how long it takes to recognize one's own strengths.....he doesn't understand why some kids have things come so easy and others try and try and still aren't good enough.  he doesn't know that they just appear to come easy.he doesn't know that some things that come easy to one kid may be a stretch for another and  that's everyone. as a first grade teacher once said, "everyone here is best at something."  i loved's true...just hard to believe when you're 13.

his feelings are intense.  we want him to know we've had those same feelings.   he doesn't believe us....he can't imagine anyone understanding.  he is sad and frustrated and our hearts are breaking just to hear him speak.  we can't make the pain go away...we can only give him the tools to deal with the pain. we try to show him how much we care and how much we believe in him.  he wants no comforting from us......we give what we can.  he too, has to find his own way.  we can show him and steer him but, we can't do it for him.

as a mom, that's all i have ever wanted to take their pain for make it better and not have the pain hurt so much.  it makes my heart ache.  sometimes when i see our kids in pain, it makes me feel helpless.  it makes me feel as though i have failed them....that i haven't made them strong enough to withstand the pain.  then, i remember that they have their own paths to take.

as my husband and i  looked up the mountain, while skiing this week, i pointed to the tracks of the skiers and snowboarders in the snow...tracks and tracks....we watched all of the different skiers and all of their different styles, coming down the mountainside.  we noticed the way some were well prepared for the freezing cold.....we noticed others that hadn't thought out the details....we watched some who were invigorated by the challenges and the cold and others who were paralyzed with fear of the terrain and in tears because of the cold.  we noticed parents who were stressed out by their children and parents who were relaxed, and enjoying the moments.

it was by the mountain, looking at the skiiers tracks in the snow, that i realized each of us has our own path to take....going down the mountain.  we all have our own style, our own speed and our own feelings as we move through the snow.  on the coldest day, it can feel like a day at the beach for some and for others, it can feel overwhelming just to get off the lift at the top of the mountain.  some get off the lift and just zip down immediately.  others have big discussions and adjusting to take care of before they even consider the run.

i am so visual.  that mountain allowed me to see that we each have our own path to take.  some of us get bumped in the tight spots, some are just knocked over by surprise, some get bruised and jump right back up and others get banged up and need to rest or get bandaged.

i realized that no matter what paths our children take, all we can do is give them lessons and help build their confidence, stay by them  yet, give them some space.  we can protect them by clothing them properly and we can show them the way.  only then, are they free to choose their own path and do it their own way, learning as they go and falling at the tough spots.  we can cheer them on and let them know we can see their improvements and see how tough the terrain and the weather may be.....and they will feel better knowing we believe in them and trust that they know the way.......and we know they will make it down the mountain doing the best that they can,no matter how long it takes or how they do it and who they do it with. 

it's all about letting go and trusting.


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