Fall is such a busy, busy time... kids get back into school and we have to acclimate to the new schedules again, the days get shorter and I begin to feel like I don't have quite as much time each day! However, with that... I also begin to feel the instinctual urge to get cozy - wait for the weather to cool (even in SoCal... it EVENTUALLY cools down!) and hunker on down in front of the fire with a cup of tea and my kids. It's important for me to have these quiet times with myself or my kids, because sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed by life and these opportunities help me to 'reboot'.
This Fall was a learning experience for me AGAIN (I'm having A LOT of those lately). I'm not one of those Mormon Mom Bloggers who is going to tell you that my life is so amazingly perfect that I just can't hold in the gratitude, or that my children get such great grades, or that I've found the PERFECT gift for their teacher and that I have completed three house decorating projects this week (which were just snappy easy and super-duper cute) and four craft projects with my kids (which, of course, they just adored and will put in their sentimental safekeeping box)... Nope... That ain't me. If you're looking for that kind of a BlogMom... keep looking.
Here's what you'll get here: I'm real. I screw up sometimes and hit a home run other times. I forget things, sometimes even important things for work or my kids. They struggle in school and with our household management skills. (For instance, my almost 11 year old child seems to have a profound aversion to placing clothing INSIDE the drawers of his dresser! He must just be very efficient-minded after all my ManagerMom tricks and techniques, and feels that clothes are more easily accessible if they are just thrown upon the floor :)!! It's an ongoing battle, but I willingly don my warrior-wear each week I am with them.)
I don't have kids that are on the State Debate Team, All State Soccer or in accelerated classes. Both my children who are at home struggle with learning disabilities. We aren't looking at AP classes or even college at this point. We are dealing with life skills, social skills, personal management, self-esteem, kindness and respect for each other.
We don't have Family Home Evening every week, we don't read our scriptures when we're super tired (uhhhmmmm... we go to bed!), and sometimes (gasp!)...we miss Youth Night activities. My daughter is 15 1/2 and we are NOT working on her second Personal Progress award - in fact, it's not likely she'll obtain even one. My ex-husband is the driving force behind the scouting movement in our family and I couldn't tell you if my 11 yo is close to completing his Webelos rank badges or not.
And my second son who is off to college? Yeah... I only get the phone calls when he actually needs something. Though, I do count myself lucky that he will, in fact, ANSWER my calls to him and although he's monosyllabic in his responses... he will respond and have a quasi-discussion. He's not posting on FB how much he loves me or misses us, or how grateful he is for the years of selfless sacrifice I spent homeschooling him or supporting him in his hobbies and achievements. But even though he almost grunts during our conversations... he did tell me he loved me today.
What I can tell you, however, is this: I am learning to let go of those things as markers of my success as a parent. What matters to me as a parent are three things I heard many years ago for goals in parenting: 1)that my child is mostly happy, 2)that my child progresses, and 3) that they know they are loved. Those are my goals. THAT, I can do...work toward those goals.
So given that, I work on teaching my children to be kind and respectful to each other and it doesn't always work out that way. I teach them to be kind to me, and it doesn't always work out. I teach them that life doesn't always go according to plan, but you gotta adapt and make the best of it. I teach them to keep trying and work hard, be open to new experiences and to find gratitude in the small things that surround them. I teach them that they aren't entitled to good things, but how we can find good things around us on any day. I say "I love you" every day, sometimes many times in a day. I hug them whenever I can. I smile at them whenever I can. I encourage them in all that they are doing and I strive to recognize the good things they do each day. I tell them how proud of them I am for WHO they are, not WHAT they do.
And while we won't likely be seeing my kids up on stage getting some award for overachievement where my friends and family might say, "You must be so proud of all that hard work!"... I will see my kids living their lives, hopefully enjoying those lives and will think to myself... "I am so proud of who they ARE!"
So there you have it... real life, real struggles and real joy. Stay tuned for more updates from a Life of Imperfection...