Monday, August 15

Who knew?

I wanted to be a mommy from early on. There were many loves and desires wrapped up in that goal, but I always knew I'd be one. I spend more time planning my parenting skills and daydreaming about how I'd handle certain situations and what I'd name my kids and how many were enough than I spent planning careers - and there were *many* different hats I tried on in the career department!

It is so funny... I was *sure* I knew pretty much how parenting would go, how it would be... Almost all I imagined was so far from the truth as to be almost inconceivable. Then there are the things that never occurred to me...

I would have been the first to tell you, 13 or 14 years ago, that you were crazy, if you'd have told me what kind of parenting I'd be practicing today! I had my ideals and they were nowhere near then what they are today. I had planned out how I'd handle the "tough" stuff... never even dreaming that those things might never come up, and was totally blindsided by other things that I'd never considered: like my 5 year old being terrified of death and dying and his parents dying and not really being able to wave a magic wand to make that fear disappear in a motherly wave of compassion and gentleness.

I fully believed that a parent should not be a friend to their child, and today I am thrilled to count my kids as my friends; they are awesome people and I'm glad they consider me to be their friend, too.

I had no idea that my kids and I would enjoy the same kinds of music - even having the same favorite songs! It never entered my imagination that we would regularly ride along in the vehicle, singing happily together... Nor could I have imagined the peace, joy and contentment that would bring me. Tears-in-my-eyes happiness. Granted, they're often telling me to, "Turn it down, Mama!" - gee... who'd've thought?!

I couldn't have dreamed up a first-born kid that could catch me off guard with his quirky, smart humor - to the point that I spew laughter unexpectedly. :~D

I'd never have conceived that my almost-teen son would not only still want to hug me, but snuggle with me, want his head kissed, want me to tuck him in - prefer that I lay down with him for a while.

I still find it almost incomprehensible that I have a youngest kid who routinely, *daily*, runs around sing-songing, "This is the best day ever. This is the bestest day ever. This is the best day ever." It seems to be his mantra. How incredibly awesome that each subsequent day is the *best* day! And when I think about it, he's right! It really is!

I've been thinking about how I started learning about partnership parenting, lately. I know I've told the story so many times, but I still am kind of awed by it. Reading about unschooling on the radical unschooling boards elicited strong reactions from me. Things like,
"They're CRAZY!"
"Oh, that's just stupid."
"Well, that would never work *here*!"
Very strong, adamant responses - almost to the point of being shocking. But, the other things I read with those "crazy" ways of doing things was about results. About kids and parents who wanted to be together. Who shared with each other. Who *listened* to each other. Most amazingly, though, were the teens - teens who *wanted* to hang out with their parents, who were kind and thoughtful and open and *talked* with their parents openly, who came to their parents first and right away when there was a problem. Families who *trusted* each other. I knew teens. I'd been a teen. This concept was totally foreign to me. I wanted this - and the more I read about it, the more I wanted it. I was not easily convinced that being a partner to my child would end up with those results, but I grudgingly, slowly accepted that the alternative rarely got those results (and never the trust spoken of, that I knew of), and so I dove in.

At one point in my early struggles to grasp the concept, I "threw in the towel", thinking that it wasn't "working", and decided I was going back to traditional parenting! Within a day, I knew I could never be that parent, again - if I ever had totally been that parent. I found that once you learned how to respect someone, you couldn't ignore that and treat them with less value, with less honor just because you decided so. For a day or so, that had me desperate and flailing. Eventually, I found it strengthening - it backed up the ideas I so loved and wanted for my family.

When you find something that makes your heart sing with joy and makes you radiate sunshine and happiness, you want to share it. You wish everyone could be as happy as you are. As I look back on conversations that happened online this week, I see the enthusiasm with which people share these ideas of partnership... I can sometimes get a infintessimal glimpse at how some others might perceive the rush to share as intolerance for other ideas that don't mesh with partnership and respect. I still don't see the threat, though. Even though I experienced a little tiny bit of that when my ingrained ideas were challenged, I had no sort of "fight back" kind of reaction. Maybe I'm just tired, but even after all these years, I still am a bit baffled by the vehement reactions to unusual ideas - to ideas that challenge one's assumptions and ingrained societal "norms"... Is it because it is parenting? Is it because it is personal, rather than a difference in the workplace? When does something change from being two differing viewpoints to an "attack"?

I thought writing it out might help me process it, but at this point, it hasn't. I'll let it stew in my brain for a while.

Today has been music, games, movies, good food, hugs, laughter, learning, idea-bouncing, helping each other - the best day *ever*!


Sandra Dodd said...

That was very cool to read.

De said...

Thank you!

Helder en Lief said...

Thank you so much! I can so relate to it.