What will your children remember about you when you’re gone?
While most parents may not spend much time thinking about that, I actually think about that a lot!
I probably think about that too much! Maybe I even obsess about it. Because sometimes it seems that I am growing older faster than they are growing up!
In my previous post, Lucky and Blessed, I expressed the blessing of raising children the second time around. This post is a follow-up and, perhaps, illustrates the dark side of being an older parent.
Most parents are young adults when they have children. They expect to live long enough to watch their children grow up, graduate, start a career, get married, and have families of their own. And, they certainly don’t recognize their mortality as much as an older adult does.
But, my second-time-around parenthood is being performed nearer the end of my life than the beginning or middle. You might say, I’m parenting from the end!
You’ve heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words!” This picture, though not very high quality, is one of my favorite baby pictures of Kaleb because it’s one of those pictures that tells a story without words.
In fact, the picture makes its own point better than I can ever explain in words. Undoubtedly, I should just keep my “thousand words” to myself, and let the picture tell its own story.
Since ‘”words” are what I do, I’m going to offer an explanation, but in much less than a thousand words…
This picture is one of those pictures that just happened in the moment. It wasn’t planned. Twenty-one-month old Kaleb liked to imitate his Poppy. Five-year-old Kaleb still does.
But, this particular picture is burned into my brain, etched on my memory. And every time I hear or see the children doing something bad that looks or sounds a lot like me, it flashes to the forefront of my mind and sears my conscience.
It’s like a sign pasted across my rather large forehead, “He Learned It From You!”
Since I’m the only adult role model in the home, I guess I have to accept responsibility, though grudgingly, for much of their bad behavior, especially if it looks or sounds a lot like me. But, do I really act like that awful behavior they are doing or say those ugly words they are saying? Surely not!
When I started this blog I promised that I would not resort to bathroom or potty humor. But bathroom training is certainly an important part of parenting young children and some stories just need to be told!
Bathroom training is particularly challenging for a single parent with multiple children and/or children of the opposite sex for several reasons:
You don’t have a personal understanding of how the plumbing works in the opposite sex children.
You don’t exactly know the proper procedure for completing the job in opposite sex children.
You have to take them into public restrooms for the opposite sex. While it’s not so bad to take a young boy into the women’s restroom, I find it objectionable to take a young girl into the men’s restroom. (No disrespect intended to my fellow males, but I just don’t want my little girl watching to see what you’ve got while you’re standing at the urinal and I’m sure you don’t want her watching you!)
When you have more than one child and only one needs to go, then you have to take them both into the restroom.
I love to read non-fiction books, particularly history and biography. And, I like to go to the movies. And I like to watch news, sports, and movies on television. But much of my current literary interests can be found in children’s books, videos, and television programs.
Trying to keep up with the toddlers, I can’t even tell you what’s going on in world events. I don’t know what the latest blockbuster movies or bestselling books are. And I don’t even know if my favorite sports teams are winning or losing.
I’m not saying this to complain. I’m saying this to explain that if there’s any personal development taking place in my life, it’s going to come from children’s books, animated videos, or kid’s television programs.
I like to watch young moms because I like to study the way they handle their children; I like to observe the way they are with their children.
I am often in the company of young moms: at daycare, at school, at school events, at the park, at McDonald’s, at the grocery store, at the children’s store, at karate gymnastics, and dance lessons, and at church.
Just about anything I am doing with the toddlers or for the toddlers is likely something that young moms are doing with or for their children!
I am afforded many opportunities each day to observe how young moms nurture their children.
I was going to wait a year or two until both toddlers were fully school-age before I continued my list of things I should know about raising kids that I apparently didn’t learn the first time (see this post for my list).
Although my first list included ten items, it wasn’t meant to be an exhaustive list. I know now that it is just the first ten things I don’t know about raising kids that I evidently never learned the first time.
Apparently, there are several more because these unlearned lessons just keep popping up all over the place.
But, I didn’t think I would continue the list less than two weeks after I wrote the first ten things on the list. I mean, how many things can there be that I should know but apparently never learned? Will the list ever come to an end?
As it turns out, there’s a few more additions to my list of things I should know about parenting but never learned that I need to include before the children grow out of toddlerhood!