Daughter2 has been home for almost two weeks and will return to collegetown on Sunday. It started raining here Saturday night and it was still raining when we went to bed last night. The sun is peeking out this morning but the forecast is for more rain later today. Daughter2 doesn't really mind although she brought summer clothes with her to NJ and it is most definitely not summer. She is happy to sleep til a ridunkulous hour and watch movies and she's read two books just for fun and oh yeah, she has spent a lot of time with me.
Daughter2 and I share some personality traits, one being we are both quite strong willed people. Why do I see my strong will as something positive and hers as something that occasionally needs taming? Perhaps my mother could answer that. Or maybe my husband.
Anyway, daughter2 is a college student too many states away so we don't have an opportunity for face to face talks as often as I would like. Oh we talk often, practically daily, but you can't have great heart to hearts over the phone...you need face time for that kind of talking. We see each other in spurts throughout the year so when we're together for a weekend or a week I feel the need to tell her all the things on my heart relating to her. I am quite certain this drives her a little bit crazy...I know it would me. I try to remember that but am not always successful.
"The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard." ~Sloan Wilson
The truth of those words really hits home during the young adult years. When our children are young the line between parent and child is big and bold but when they hit the young adult years and are real live honest to goodness people it suddenly looks gray and blurry. How much to say and how much to hold back? Advise or let the chips fall where they may? Butt in or stay out? Demand or suggest?
I've noticed something about myself when it comes to parenting. I expect my children to be better than me. Better organized, better disciplined, better at containing their impatience, better at tolerating well intentioned advice, better decision makers, better at mostly everything. My expectations for my children are high and most of the time they exceed them. They inspire me to be better yet they don't demand it or feel let down when I'm not. Would they say the same is true of me? As a parent I think I need to be more like my children.
I think about my girls learning to ride bicycles...daughter1 at age 6. We finally lived somewhere flat with sidewalks. She was hesitant for Daddy to let go but determined to do it herself. She looked back to be sure he was there and ahead to reaching her goal. She kept trying until she got it perfect. She still likes to keep working at things until they are perfect.
Daughter2 was 4 and could barely reach the pedals. That did not deter her one little bit. She hopped on with complete and utter confidence and never looked back. It never occurred to her there was anything to fear. It never occurred to her she wouldn't succeed. Fearless is how she goes thru life....confident and completely certain she will succeed at whatever she tries.
There are days in this season of parenting kids in their early 20's when I need to support and encourage and guide. There are also days when freedom is demanded and must be given. I confess I'm better at the supporting and guiding than I am at that whole freedom thing but I'm learning. Like my kids, I'm a work in progress.
edited to link with Kelly's Korner on 7/29-SUYL Parenting Advice