Once upon a time I was an awesome mother. I had all the answers, was willing to tell everyone else all the answers and held my two beautiful boys up as model examples of how good parenting can deliver well behaved children.
I was in my 20's and had Jesus in my heart. The love of God gave me the strength to endure all things and the ability to jump into action at a moment's notice when called upon. I could do all of that and lasso the moon.... In My Mind.
Yes, I actually thought I was one amazing mom, because I was just THAT Holy.
I had an answer for all the toddler woes, kiddy trickery, whiny habits and bed-time antics. I could pull out this parenting tool and that parenting power to stave off even the most stubborn habit that my children could dole out. I had the super mom power of love and all was well with the world.
God has a way of humbling the proud. He has a not so gentle way of showing a strong, independent mind and body just how powerless they can be. He may do this to help us grow. He may do this to help us lean on Him more. He may do this to get a little chuckle...Who knows? All I know for sure...is that He DOES do it.
I know this because about 7 years ago, my blissful, holy life was going along just fine and dandy when my heart decided to quit working properly. I was minding my own business when it decided that only half of it wanted to pump while the other half shimmered. I was told numerous times, by multiple medical officials that I should not be alive. Somehow, that changed my view of how life was supposed to be.
Yes, God shook my world and brought Brian right along for the ride. It was after that fateful day that we decided to do the thing we always said we were going to do. We decided to wake up and live our lives the way we had planned early in our marriage. We wanted to take in children and eventually adopt one or two. After all, we were... amazing parents!
The day came when we were given two little girls to parent. Their stay here was short but eventful. The 6 year old girl snuck around breaking anything her little hands could destroy. She was stealthy and had a knack for keeping all the pieces together so that when one would pick up said destroyed item, they would be shocked that the pieces fell to the floor. Buckles on bags, picture frames, pictures, crayons. She was a pro and quite proud of her handy-work. We were gentle and kind and understood that she had a tumultuous childhood so we didn't worry much about these antics. We're pro's you know. Heck, I even potty trained her little sister in the 4 months they lived with us.
Those two little tikes left our home during the beginning of August, 2004. By the end of August we had been given precious little 8 month old twin boys and two days later, DHS delivered their darling little, 4 year old brother. We grew from a family of 4 to a family of 7 within 3 days. No Big Deal for these talented young parents. We had it in the bag.
At this time, Kazz was 12 years old and Brise was eight. Our treasured, little loving sons were gracious hosts to their new siblings. I remember peering out the kitchen window as Brise and Vinnie were playing in the yard. I just had to witness the bliss that was taking place.
As I quietly watched and listened to the boys chatting I could hear Brisan promptly tell our new little 4 year old Vinze that he was a brat. Our adorable, bright eyed four year old son, promptly exclaimed to our delightful and kind Brise that he was a Mother ***cker. Our gloriously dear and gentle Brise hovered over his tiny new brother and began to laugh. Their eyes met, Vinze was accepted as part of the family and the sibling rivalry was on. That day began their battle of wills.
And our world changed.
Our innocent little twins also grew. They became quite the mischievous duo. Daxx especially had a knack for breaking every rule in the house. He had a talent, I say! On top of that, he held a deliberate and awesome ability to Not-Care-At-All about the disciplined nature of our home.
His will was great, my will was also great, but his will and talent were greater.
There came a day when I realized that some parents have children who are different than the average bear. I realized that there actually are children in this world who Will. Not. Have. It. They just plain and simply will not be told what to do and do not have the capacity to learn from discipline and parental authority. They do not snap out of their behavior nor do they eventually learn after many, many parental attempts.
No. These children keep on doing what they do without regard to parental intervention. They scoff inside and may even laugh allowed at their discipline, punishment and/or intervention. All of the old parenting tricks are futile for this particular breed.
Getting down on their level to speak to them is pointless. They nod their head, listen intently and the moment the parent's back is turned, they do the behavior again...and sometimes worse! Special time alone to have bonding moments and parent/child time is fun but profitless in regard to curbing their behavior. Time outs, Time in the corner, Toys taken to the garage, sentences being handed out, time spent at home while the other kids get to go trick-or-treating....yes I did that....and even spanking the bottom....ALL...completely and utterly failed.
These kids are the master manipulators. They are the Strong Willed and I have them. Not only did I adopt 2 of these strong willed children, but I birthed one as well! I just never opened my eyes wide enough to see his antics for what they were until later in life.
Ahh, yes. The strong willed children; they surround me. .
Gone are the days when I see a screaming child in a restaurant and think badly of the parent.
Gone are the days when I hear a mother yell
"NO! I HAVE HAD IT! SIT DOWN AND BE QUIET" and think she is abusing her child.
Gone are the days when I think I could parent "that" child better than "that" parent.
I am "that" parent.
I've lost all desire to please this family member or that stranger by having such well behaved children. I no longer worry that this person or that beloved family member will think ill of me when my children misbehave. Nope. I care not about those who tsk-tsk my parenting.
I now have different goals.
My goal is to raise adults who are capable and willing to work hard and provide for themselves and their family; even if, today, they break the curtain rods and sneak outside to swing on the swings at 2 am.
My goal is to raise loving parents who are slow to anger and quick to forgive; even if they hit their siblings at the age of 9 and cuss behind my back when they are teenagers.
My goal is to raise Christian parents who understand that they are NOT good people (as some of us believe ourselves to be) but that God is Good and through Him they are able to live a life that, though not spotless, is important enough to die for; even if, today, they do purposely call other children names and become indignant when the child cries and tattles.
I now try to imagine the adults my children will become. I hope they are learning valuable life lesson by ALL of the consequences they reap from the actions they are choosing in their childhood. I pray that I can hold to some semblance of sanity in the process.
My goal is to give them every single tool they need for success, hold them when they fall, let them have their tantrum in the hall, on the floor, at church, in the yard, in the van....wherever they may freak out....and allow them to experience the consequences of their actions.
I do all of this, as hands off as I can now so that when they have children.... I can sit back, relax, feed my grand-babies red candy, cola's and chocolate and send them home to daddy. I have but one prayer for my boys; that their children give them ALL of the Blessings they have bestowed upon me. Amen.