I was 23 years old when I had my first child. Certainly old enough but young enough to be naive too. To be honest I was never around children. As an only child I spent most of my time with adults. I thought that having children would be a breeze. WOW was I wrong. I suppose the only thing that saved me was the fact that I have wonderful examples in my parents and am still married to a man who is a wonderful father.
None of us is perfect and we all make mistakes raising out children. We just have to pray that the mistakes aren’t life altering. My children’s early years were spent while we were in the Army. Lots of moves and new people to get to know. They seemed to survive that.
By the time they were in their teens we were settled and they got to stay in the same schools. All children are different and mine certainly are. Thank God they are all gainfully employed, have children of their own, and survived us as parents. I don’t know if we managed as well. There was lots of anxiety and nail biting but here we are.
We won’t talk about finding out a few years ago about my son and his friends riding bikes off the roof of the house into the swimming pool. Glad I didn’t know about that. We lived through the time my oldest daughter dove into the pool and hit her head and survived. There was also the time my youngest daughter was on the way to Japan as an exchange student and left her ticket at home. (before all these electronics) She did get to Japan.
Many things that happen in the lives of children are fun to remember later. Some are not so fun. Parenting is a full time job. Most parents love their children and have their best interests at heart. Never doubt that it is a hard but rewarding job.
Today I made bread. I often do but today I started thinking about the making of bread. You start with simple ingredients. Flour, yeast, milk or water, salt, butter or oil, sugar or honey. Lots of other ingredient choices…too many to name. You can make any kind of bread you want but one thing is always there……the smell. When the bread is baking the smell begins. You take it out to cool and the smell envelopes the house…..no not house…HOME! That smell….enchantment….home.
For me there are some things that really make anywhere I am a home. The best is good things cooking whether I am the cook or not. The smells speak of love and caring. The hope that a family will be there. That people will sit around a table. They will talk and share the day. They will connect.
The sad part is that this doesn’t happen as much anymore. Families are so busy. Everyone running in a different direction. No time to be family. No time to listen to each other… to learn about the day. No time to share.
Unfortunately, families need this time. Without it each concentrates on their own lives. They don’t connect….there isn’t time. No wonder children are growing up feeling un-anchored.
The other piece of the puzzle is that it seems that the emphasis of the family is on the individual children. Not on the family as a whole. The parents are not the bond that holds it all together. There is no time to spend on the marriage….that relationship that is central to it all. Without that the family disintegrates. We end up with no marriage and children who see themselves as the center of the universe…entitled to be.
Entitled children grow up to be entitled adults who are totally focused on themselves. This is not the way to live. How can we make this better?
I am just back from two days away for the wedding of my grandson and a baby shower for my granddaughter. I have always been aware that when families get together whether for a wedding or a funeral there is always tension. Stress is in the air. In nursing we call this Eustress. (Definition of eustress. : a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being. … during positive stress) The thing they fail to mention in the definition is that stress is stress. Happy occasions cause stress. The reason for the event is good but just put whole families together and the fur can fly. So family gatherings are a combination of eustress and distress. I can, and does, go both ways.
We were blessed that there were very few negative moments but there were a few. Not to mention the stress involved in putting on an event of this kind and two of them within two days. The rushing around was frantic and although my role was minimal (thank goodness) I ended up with anxiety today. I suppose the combination of travel, excitement, some disagreements, business, completing tasks and I can’t think of what else finally got to me this morning with resulting IBSD issues. I received the blessing of support from family who have similar issues. I appreciate their love and understanding without any flap.
I am back home, tired, wrung out but better. Now I can pet my dogs and get the extra love they give and relax.
Those of us who deal with mental health issues can be pushed over the edge by major events. It doesn’t matter if they are good or bad. I was glad to be able to meet the expectations of me without alerting anyone to my stress. Instead I managed to help with the stress of others and crash after it was all over. (My usual defense mechanism.) I am grateful that I usually respond that way. I hope it continues to work for me. Maybe it needs to be named delayed anxiety reaction.
Sorry I have missed blogs over the last few days but will catch up.
My grandson is getting married this month. He and his fiance have actually been together since high school. Now both of the them are gainfully employed and have just bought a house. This event has made me think about relationships in the 21st century.
So much has changed since I was their age. So many people live together rather than marry. I don’t know if it has to do with being unwilling to make a long term commitment or just not wanting to go through the legal issues. If there are no children involved I don’t feel as if it matters one way or another. Also, so many marriages end in divorce. Something has changed in how relationships are viewed. Does everyone think that relationships should be excitement and passion forever? That’s not to say that some marriages have that forever but usually not all the time. Marriage is about growing into a deeper relationship. At least mine has been and I am grateful for that. There seems to be the attitude today that people begin thinking “if this doesn’t work we’ll just end it.” Starting that way puts an “if” in it from the get go.
It concerns me that the real losers today are children. Children seem to do best when parents are in a long term relationship with an eye to building something lasting. The focus on children is also part of the picture as it seems the children have become the primary people in the family. We have forgotten that a marriage needs work and time spent enriching it. Parents should be the focus. When this happens the children win. The children should be loved and cared for but not the focus of everything.
I hope to write something similar to this to give to my grandson and his fiance. I plan to make my thoughts clearer in the hopes that they will start off with wide open eyes about living together “until death do us part.” The good and the bad happen but God willing your love will last.