The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a challenge for Hubby and I. It has been a time of settling things in my heart and learning to let go as far as my children are concerned. All these years we have based our parenting on our church values of what we believe is right and wrong. I am not saying this is a bad thing – in fact many of these values I still believe in and hold dear not because of religious reasons any more but because a lot of them make sense to protect and keep our kids safe. But at the same time I realize that a lot of what we believed and enforced as parents had the potential to make our children rebellious and resentful. I am just grateful that this never happened in major ways. However since we have decided to parent more with grace in our lives – giving our older children more opportunity to make choices and decisions for themselves it has become harder for me to get rid of the old mindset of “just do as you are told, we are the parents and you are the kids, you live in our home so respect the rules etc.”
Some of the choices our oldest son is making at present are not pleasing to Hubby and I and we don’t agree with them – but we have decided that he is adult enough to make decisions and live with the consequences. At what point do you let go and hope they will make wise decisions? The other thing we have to weigh up is whether we want our relationship with him to deteriorate because we will not give up our ideas of what we believe is right. Don’t get me wrong, we let him know that we are not happy with his choice and why, but ultimately we have decided to let him make the choice, all the while giving him a picture of what could happen as a result of that choice. It has been HARD – I won’t lie, letting go and trusting that all the values you have put into their lives will hold them up and help them. I guess I am transitioning from having dependent children to having independent kids in the home. I now understand why my Mom went out and bought a Mickey Mouse stuffed toy when my sister left home – I relate at last!!
My son is half living at home and half not at the moment although in his mind he stills lives at home. His reasoning is that our home is too noisy with the foster boys (who are 1 and 3 years old) – I understand how this is stressful at times but I also think this is an excuse to be away from home more. I have to take it in my stride and not personally – after all he will move out one day permanently and it doesn’t mean we are not loved by him. We have stressed though that he is still dependent on us for a few things and that should he want to have his complete independence that requires him to step up and support himself too.
This could have turned into a battle with angry confrontation but I am pleased to say that we have discussed our feelings with one another in a civil way. He has acknowledged our feelings and has said he understands them but has chosen to do what he wants anyway and so we have given him the freedom to walk this out. Parenting is hard – even when you have great kids who are not rebellious – they aren’t perfect – no one is, and that is when it is hard to let go.
Then the flip side of the coin is a daughter who is an adult and can do as she pleases but doesn’t – she asks when she is going out at night and always lets us know where she is and what she is doing. She is super responsible and wise beyond her years – makes parenting super easy then. Then we have our 14 year old who is going through a phase where she thinks she can do as she pleases and this is where the rubber hits the road – she can’t. Although we believe in giving freedom of choice to our kids there is a level of freedom that comes with age. She seems to think her freedom is deciding when she goes to school and when she’ll have a day off. Nope not gonna happen!! We had war in the home yesterday as she would not get out of bed. Eventually after screaming like a fish wife I left the house so as to get my youngest to school on time. Her decision was a poor one – she had to do some work at home – helping with the dishes, laundry and babysitting and I made her tidy her room. Hopefully this made school seem like a dream.
I know I sound like I am whining but this is actually not usually the norm – things usually run more smoothly in the home and eveyone does their bit – yesterday the wheels fell off but I am glad to say they are all back on again today !!
I also am working through letting go the foster boys as they will soon be going but that is a post I will save for Sweet Hope Chronicles.
I am so proud of my Hubby – he has decided that he doesn’t want to teach for another 20 years and so he is studying part time to get a Diploma that will give him a new career direction. For a long while he has been dissatisfied in his work place and this has given given him a new focus and zest for making some changes. I am the first to say that he is a brilliant teacher but I think he is wasted being stuck in a science lab somewhere. His main talent is motivating and encouraging people to reach their dreams and this is where we are heading. I don’t want to say too much but I am excited for where his future will go.
Michaela goes back to Uni in a couple of weeks and she is looking forward to it – it has been a very long holiday for her – 4 months off. She is looking for a part time job and it will be very good for her if she gets one. Ethan begins his Fitness course soon too and so hopefully will love it. He told me the other day that he is loving his Year 12 course as they are studying 3rd world countries and human rights – he has been part of a lot of fundraising events for poorer communities and he said it is so interesting. It is these moments that make me realize that he has a great heart and does show some responsibility so I have to trust his choices for himself.
Another year is well under way and I think this year will have many changes for us but hopefully they are changes that will benefit and grow us all.
Last year was such a busy year for us as we adapted to life with two children under 3 in the home again. We visited the National Rhododendron Gardens up in the Dandenong Hills in Spring and I never got to post any of the lovely photos we took so to end this post on a positive beautiful note here are some of the photos.