Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Elissa in Wonderland

So, it's Wednesday. But even though I knew yesterday was Tuesday, I sort of spent all day thinking today was going to be Thursday. Don't ask. I have so much written on my calendar that I am neglecting to actually READ any of it ahead of time. And it's not, like, good stuff. It's just permission slips due, book fair dates, field trips, blahbity, blahbity, blah, blah, blah. I can only imagine what will happen to me when I have two kids in public school next year. All this to say that a lot of things have been distracting me as it is and then my mind got a little tripped up.

Last weekend was both wonderful family time and horrifically frustrating parenting time with my beautiful boys, namely the 7 year old mouth that seems to be going on 14 when fueled by an impulsive temper. And, so what I am really starting to see about parenting is that it doesn't end. Don't laugh. I mean, I would have TOLD you that before, but now I really see it. Because the thing is, I would have said "Oh, of course you have to keep on parenting right on through." But what I would have felt in my heart was that the issues would change. You know, you'd tackle one trouble like tantrums or mouthing off (you know, just random examples) and then you'd work through it and get it under control and then you'd move on to whatever the NEXT issue is. But what I am finding, as we head into year 8 of parenting, is that the NEXT issue is generally the same issue that you thought you solved 6 months or a year ago. OH, growing is truly two steps forward, one step back.


I'm not sure why I held this delusion. I still struggle with the same things I struggled with 20 years ago.... just differently. Why should it be any different with my babes? We are who we are, we just need to learn to reign it in and let it out at the appropriate times, which only comes with maturity, which I am gonna go out on a limb and say does not come at 5 or 7. Apparently we are going to have to plod along our Wonderland ready to fight the Jabberwocky not just once, but whenever he appears. Still, even knowing that, I feel a little like I've fallen down the rabbit hole of parenting. It's so easy to lose my footing when I'm chasing the white rabbit of maturity and responsibility as if it is something I can catch and just hand to my kids. And if that first step is a doozy, it doesn't help me get back to reality when I'm distracted by all my own faults and inadequacies, my own struggles and mistakes and worries swirling around me.

Truth be told, I am feeling a little topsy-turrvy emotionally. The past several days have been a swing between anger, frustration and embarrassment, sweet and honest confession and forgiveness, and worry and prayer for Mike and me as parents and for my kids. It's as if the inside of me has been eating unlabeled mushrooms and cakes right and left. I hardly know what to expect next. But it's not about me, it's about them. It's about helping them discern who they are, good and bad, and teaching them to love that person but to always grow and change and learn to be the best version of that person they are capable of and to give the rest to God.

I'm awfully glad for that last bit because, it would seem, we don't reach some climactic maturity at 18 or 20, magically shedding our misbehaviors and self doubts, and I don't want to take my advice from a caterpillar.

7 comments:

Melissa Crowe said...

Would it help if I said I feel like this ALL THE TIME? ;-)

nicola@which name? said...

Elissa? Man you hit it for me today. First, I was under the same delusion, and imagine my pleasure at being helpful to a friend with her daughter's tantrums, thinking we were through them, only to have them resume horribly this past couple of weeks. Damn. And your calendar? Me too. I cussed at it last night when I thought to check it and realized I hadn't done a single thing for the day that I was supposed to do, even though I had never been idle. Off to do some of it before school pick-up...
Nicola

Scented Sweetpeas said...

oh my goodness my 9 year old sounds just like your lad. I have sent him to his room so many times in the last few weeks I have lost count. I really must get a star chart back on the wall and see if that helps and that sometimes reigns him in a bit. Oh Motherhood isn't easy is it - it is fun, magical, fantastic but not easy :-)

Feather said...

um, yeah. what she said (pointing at you). i hear ya' hummin', sista'. man, it can bring you down sometimes, can't it? tomorrow will be better. say it with me, tomorrow will be better.

see?

Steph said...

You are a sweet and honest parent. We all go through times like this (at least, I hope so 'cause I sure did when they were little and still do some now that they're big). Some times I think parenting is more about shaping and recreating me - I learn so much (and about grace).

Dana - Old Red Barn Co. said...

Yep. Just when you think you've got a handle on it they change.

Gray Matter said...

If magic mushrooms are making your write so beau-ti-ful-like then keep eatin' them, sistah.