Wednesday, March 12, 2014

On Doing My Best

My kids will complete the 3rd & 4th grade this year.  Man, it flies. My strongest childhood memories began in 3rd grade. Maybe that's what is causing a little anxiety lately about my parenting... that I KNOW my kids will REALLY remember from this point on, and so I feel a lot of (self-imposed) pressure to *make* *it* *count* more now than ever...
Aren't they precious? Where is the pause button?!?!?
Photo Credit: Abby Hennington

You see, I had an idyllic childhood. My parents were/are perfect. Well, maybe not perfect, but really really close.

My Dad taught us lots of practical life stuff that I still use today...
*Jokes are good. Jokes and humor and laughing can solve a lot of problems in the world.
*If you fall, just say "Hot Dog!" and then get up and rub some dirt in it and get back in the game..
*Anything, absolutely anything, can be fixed. Cars, houses, bones, TVs, homework... And, if it can't be fixed, it can be replaced - The only things that can't be replaced are people, and broken trust.
*The only time you raise your voice is if someone is too far away. You never raise your voice in anger.
*If you don't do something right, really, it's not worth doing it at all.
*If you're going to drive a car, you have to check the oil, fill the tank, and be able to change a tire.
*When you are asked to do something, you must do it. Immediately. If not, I start counting to 3. And I start with the number 2.
*If I say "Get in the truck, J" - don't ask questions. Just do it. We may be going to the hardware store for a part for the fixing of things, or we may be going to get ice cream, or we may end up at the beach for the weekend. Surprises in life are good. Don't question so much.

Momma is amazing.  She is kind and lovely and smart. The one thing I always, always, always knew I wanted to be was a Momma. Because, to me, Momma was the best thing EVER. But, she showed me that a mom can be other things, too. She had a career that she enjoyed. And I never doubted that I would also be a work-outside-the-home mom. (In fact, I was going to be an astronaut.)

Here is Momma Joy wisdom:
*Don't whine. It's not attractive. You can be honest and tell the truth and share your feelings without whining. No one likes a whiner.
*We don't get angry about accidents, it wasn't on purpose, and it can't be undone (but it can be fixed - see Dad-ism above).
*When we mess up, we say we are sorry.  Sorry doesn't fix everything, but it's a start.
*We don't cry over spilt milk, we clean it up and pour another glass.
*We don't say anything we might regret because words can't be taken back.
*When we are upset, it's ok to cry. But then you have to go wash your face, and brush your teeth, and go to bed.  Everything will always be better in the morning.
*Momma & Daddy will always be proud of you, no matter what happens, but you have to promise to do your best. Your best is all you can do.
*In all things, we are kind and honest and act in love.

As an adult, I appreciate that I was taught these things. I like who I was taught to be. Or at least who they taught me to strive to be. When I'm having a hard time, or something bad happens, and I don't know what to do - I call my momma. If something breaks, and I try to fix it but come up short, I call my daddy. I want to be like them. I want to be the parents to C&C that they were to me.

So, I try hard. Every day. And it is way hard, y'all. And I mess up. A lot.

My patience gets short. I don't want to fix dinner or do the dishes or, God help, do 4th grade Math homework. (Where's my Daddy when you need him!!!) Sometimes, I want to raise my voice (in anger!) - and sometimes I do raise my voice...sorry, Daddy.) But when I do lose my temper and raise my voice, I say I'm sorry. Sometimes I whine about things, because they are so hard! (But I usually catch myself and immediately change my tone, because like Momma said, no one likes a whiner.) I worry. I worry WAY too much. Usually about spilt milk, that I can't unspill - But I try not to.

I sometimes tell Momma about how:
the laundry is a big fat mess, and no one has clean underwear,
or how I messed up and lost my temper because Cole misplaced (fill-in-the-blank) AGAIN and had a fit,
or Carson is the slowest-slow-poke ever,
or I had to miss the Challenge field trip that all.the.other.moms were going on because I had court
...and how am I ever supposed to be as good as she was?

She says it wasn't perfect like I think, I just don't remember.
She says that our laundry was a mess, and we had dog hair stuck permanently in the carpet, marker on the wall, gum in the hair, and that she didn't want to fix dinner, and she lost her temper because *I* misplaced (fill-in-the-blank) AGAIN and had a fit, and Casey was the slowest-slow-poke ever...

WHAT? I mean, I know we were kids and we were a mess, but my parents weren't perfect, either??? I guess I don't have to be so hard on myself about making it all perfect. Maybe, like me, my kids will grow up and remember the good important stuff that I worry so much about passing on. And all the other crazy chaos will just fall by the wayside from their memories...

I am not my parents. I am only me.  But I am lucky to be theirs, to have come from them; so, if I try hard, I can fix anything, and it's ok to mess up if I say I'm sorry, and if I do my best they will be proud, so I do my best.  And my best is all I can do.

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