In 13 years of being a mom, I’ve tried to teach my kids a lot. There’s three of them and one of me, and I won’t always be here. I didn’t think about this much until I had a stroke almost 5 years ago.
After I recovered, I started thinking about the things I still wanted to teach my kids. I want them to grow up to be forward thinking, well mannered people. I want them to be happy with their lives and just be themselves,no matter where that may lead them.
I haven’t become a millionaire by working in the mental health field or blogging (as of yet) and I’m okay with this. I want my kids to find careers that they love, as long as it pays the bills. (No illegal things, I’m not bailing anyone out.)
Being the sibling of a kid with special needs isn’t easy. Cameron has really taken the brunt of this. He’s seen both siblings in some sort of therapy since he was three years old, beginning with Lily.
I’ve said before in The Siblings’ Turn that this will likely make him and in a different way, Lily, more caring and empathetic people. I can live with that. The biggest lesson? I want them to stand up for others who can’t do it for themselves and each other.
Matthew and I are wildly different people. One is example is that he’s a staunch Republican with a healthy love of guns. (Chillax, they are in a gun safe and none of the kids can even begin to figure out the combo) I’m a Democrat counting the days until we have a new president. This does have many advantages- one of them is that the kids see both sides of politics at home and get to form their own thoughts. We encourage this and watch the news almost daily. I want the kids to absorb and discuss what they see, then think it out.
Just Be Who You Are
Everyone has their own personality and in this house, it gets interesting. We tweak a lot of things for Julian, and everyone is used to it. Each kid is loved for who they are, and not who they “should” be. I don’t even know who my kids “should” be. Lily likes art stuff and hates math. Julian loves Minecraft and pretzels. He also loves “North Woods Law”. Cameron’s main loves in life are napping and playing basketball. Julian tends to be quieter than the other two, but that’s okay.
The lesson here? Be you. Go do awesome stuff with your life. Like others for who they are, not what you want them to be.
I have a zero tolerance for bullshit. My kids have learned this. I went off at a dentist office once because they couldn’t be bothered to call me about a canceled appt FOR ALL THREE KIDS because that dentist didn’t take their insurance. I took them out of school and on top of that, I had a horrible migraine.
We still got milkshakes after.
The lesson here? Milkshakes are even better when you don’t make it to the dentist, don’t anger a person with a migraine and don’t let people run over you, because that receptionist certainly tried.
Sometimes People Stink
This world is full of mean people. I don’t want my kids to be cynical and hardened but I do want them to stand up for themselves and not take crap from others. Lily is very sweet and gentle hearted. I worry that in the future, she will get run over. We’re working on this.
In general, I want my kids to be nice people. Give hugs. Give back to the community. Open doors for others. The small things count, and we work on this often.
Friendship is everything. I have a much smaller circle of friends than I used to, and that’s okay.
They know it’s okay to not need a roomful of friends to feel cared for. Sometimes just a handful is better. Thanks to my own changes in this area, the kids have absorbed a lot about what friendship means and what to look for in a true friendship. I hope they carry those lessons with them.
Love and Money
Then there’s love. I don’t care who they choose to be with, as long as they are being treated well, then I’m okay. I hope they find a deep, long lasting love and that they hold onto it with their whole heart and both of their hands.
Money isn’t everything but it certainly helps. Matthew and I have worked hard over the years to care for our family. I don’t want my kids to work so hard that they forget to live. This also goes for college.
You only get one body. Take care of it. I’m working on that one. They don’t want to have a stroke at 30, even a small one.
These are the big takeaways I want my kids to take from my parenting. I hope I’m somewhere on the path of getting them where they should be.
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