11 February 2014

Happy Valentine's Day! {2014 Version}

I found a blog post from last year.  I had written about 75% of it and then somehow never finished it and never posted it.  Regardless, it was a Valentine's Day post.  So I thought I'd finish my thoughts here.  

We love Valentine's Day around here.  Not so much the "big gifts" and "date night" for Brad and I.  What we love is coming up with the Valentine's "happies" that we make for E's friends.  This year was a first!  This year J is in school as well and was so very excited to help make them for her classmates.  We always spend quite a bit of time to research ideas and look for new designs that we haven't made before.  

This has become quite the tradition for the girls and I!  But we're not the first generation to do this.  Nope, I did this with my mother.  I remember spending time with her hand making Valentine's for my friends and classmates.  No store bought ideas or candies were allowed in the Boyer home.  At the time, I'm not sure I always appreciated the work that went into this.  My mother didn't "do" most candies, and she was very insistent that we could be more creative then a box could provide.  She was right - but again, I wish I had realized that earlier!  Thanks, Mum, for remembering your art teacher roots and challenging your daughter!  I'm doing my best to carry on this tradition. :)  

05 February 2014

In Between

I feel like we should let the cat out of the bag.  

We as parents can only try our best.  That's it.  There is just not a set of Pinterest boards to help us all know how to deal with a child.  Nope.  Each kid is different and each situation is different.  Thus we work with the clues we have. We pray, ask for wisdom, read, and hope that we are making the right choices.  If we are smart we also look backward to how our parents reacted.  We can learn so much from our parents and grandparents, both in what to do and what not to do.  I hope my kids do the same because there is much I don't want them to emulate in parenting from me!  But I do hope there are a few nuggets of wisdom that can be passed on.  

Ok, enough rambling. Here's the reason I'm writing.  I was blown away by my oldest yesterday.  She is eleven, and every bit of it – the good, the bad, the hormonal.  The current term is “tween”.  I'm sure I had never heard that before the last ten years, but it’s a term that seems rather true.  She loves her American Girl dolls and yet wants to cook the family dinner.  

This is an amazing time, yet I often think I don't stop to enjoy it nearly enough.  We are a busy family with everyone having a their own demanding schedules.  We own our own small business, one daughter lives for ballet and friends, the other enjoys dance and gymnastics, plus my husband works full-time outside of the home.  We are the poster children for the on-the-go family.  Over the last couple of years I have cut out many distractions from our family so we could slow down - but even with those things cut out, we are just busy!  Your family is busy as well.  This is modern life.  

With these things happening I hadn't realized how messy the 11- year-old’s room had become.  One night as I was tucking the girls in bed and praying over them, I turned around and nearly fell.  Wow! Every surface was covered and the floor had a good deal of loot out as well!  Because I knew we had been busy, I didn't yell or fuss, but I did give a warning.  She would have the next several days to find time to clean this up or the items were going to walk away.  Do you think this worked?  


I reminded her the next couple of days.  Her father reminded her.  

Nothing changed.  

So one night I went in with a plastic bag.  Dolls, books, jewelry, clothes, iPods and such.  It's interesting what is out in a tweens room.  Not as many toys anymore, but what a mess!   And every bit of it went into the bag.  She was not happy. 

Too bad. 

So then it came to what to do about this.  Her father and I decided to ask her to write an essay as to why it's important to keep a room clean.  She would write out why we have rules and help earn back her "stuff".  

A day later, she hands us the essay, and what was written blew me away.  Regardless of what we think, kids truly are listening.  I often feel like I'm talking to myself, or to a brick wall, or to the dogs.  The kids seem to just smile and keep doing what they are doing.  It can be maddening.  My oldest is much like her father – lovable, so profoundly different from normal human beings like myself.  They are introverts.  They are internal processors.  They do not need to verbally process much of anything.  But, having processed an issue, what comes out is rather magical.  I'd like to share with you her own thoughts, the results of a week of processing.  

We’re going to talk about why you should keep your room clean and how you can do it.  First of all, keeping your room clean will help you want to be there more.  It can also help you have a better night sleep.  You can keep your room clean by organizing into groups.  Like dolls, tools, jewelry, art, and toy animals.  When your organizing you should also be going through your piles and choosing things you don’t like so you can sell it or give it away.  
But you should never stuff things into drawers because your mom or dad will find it later.  Always keep the top of your dresser clean and your bedside table.  Never shove things into your closet for when your friends come over you don’t want to be embarrassed.  If you have a little brother or sister you should always keep small parts off the ground for they could choke.  These are reasons why you keep your room clean and how you can do it.   
Sometimes (okay, all of the time) parenting isn't easy.  It’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done.  But these glimpses into into these little hearts and minds make it so worth while!  This isn't just about an essay as to why to keep a room clean.  It's about a child who is learning and trying and growing.  She's stuck in-between.  In between a child and a young lady.  Between immaturity and responsibility.  Between needing Mom and craving independence.  I do miss the little baby girl who would crawd up on me to nap.  But I'm so in love with this tall, gangly, curly haired young lady that’s she somehow become.  I guess I’m in-between, too.

So although it's taking time to put into action, she's getting it.  It's in there.  I'm praying that over the next couple of years it continues to work its way from the inside out. There's generations of wisdom in there, and for a moment I was stunned to see if spill out.  She has been listening, and I was a bit humbled.  Humbled to be her mother, humbles to watch her grow, humbled to lead and walk beside this curly-haired wonder who continues to surprise and delight me.
{Oldest a few years ago, photo's by www.mileswittboyer.com