Did y'all watch the ABC show Suburgatory? I did, for many reasons. It was downright funny. Like, Modern Family funny. It poked fun at the Stepford-like communities. The Washington, D.C. area has some of those, but we can't be the only ones, since Suburgatory writers depicted them so well. Ana Gasteyer's character was one I loved to hate one minute and felt sympathy for the next. But it also tackled some serious issues, showed us the perspective of both the parents and the kids and gave me welcomed advice and insight into the teenage years that I am dreading.
Kids need to know, believe, that even if, when, they shout, "I HATE YOU!" at us (after we've disciplined them/told them no, etc.), that it won't change the way we feel about them. We're still here. We're not going anywhere and we won't send them away, either. We still knock on their slammed bedroom doors that night and let them know dinner is ready, even if they choose not to join us. They need to know that whatever goes wrong in this world, in this house or inside themselves, we've got their backs!
The season one finale is saved on my DVR. The words at the end of that show are so powerful, I wanted to keep them; to replay them when I find myself in that place. The voiceover from Tessa, the teenaged main character, said, "The parent/child relationship is a strange one. You grow up thinking they're super heroes who can do no wrong. But then one day the cape comes off, and you see them for who they really are. And if you don't like what you see, tough luck; you're stuck together. Why? Because you're family."
Those words are "bruteful", as Glennon at Momastery.com says. It's a major turning point in our parent/child relationship. It will happen. And what happens next will depend on how we, as parents, have chosen to interact with our children up to that point. Were we parents, disciplinarians, admitting our humanness/our own mistakes openly, setting the best example, apologizing or not apologizing when necessary, calling them on their shit and ensuring they towed the line with manners, respect, truthfulness, gratefulness, and service to others? Or were we more concerned with appearing cool, being their friend or giving them whatever they wanted to distract them so we could pursue our own interests, uninterrupted?
Being a parent is the hardest job ever. We are forming human beings from scratch and, eventually, unleashing them onto the world to not only make their way of it successfully, but also to ensure no need for them to come back and be supported by us. They need to know we are here for them - to cry to, to get advice from, to be proud of them - but the goal is to set them free and marvel how they decide to fly. And then have a new stage of our relationship - one of equality, respect and acceptance of our lifestyles.
- I am a very lucky woman with a husband and son who are smart, witty and entertaining. Our son, B, attended public school for two years, and then we embarked on a new adventure in the Fall of 2010 - homeschooling. We don't have all the answers, but we know B and this has been the best thing for him. I blog to preserve our stories and our memories, share recipes, vent and ramble on about our crazy, yet blessed, life. Would you care to follow along?