I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
As a preschool teacher to approximately 20 three year olds every school year, I find myself in a unique position. I become an extended part of the families of the children I teach….well sort of. Because I am “older” than most of the parents of students in my class and because I have a child who is almost 18 and another who just turned 12, I am looked upon sometimes for advice or my opinion because I’ve already been through that stage in my children’s life. For some reason these younger parents seem to think I have some magic book of answers. Sometimes I have answers and sometimes, well, sometimes, I don’t.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned as a mother, is that children do not come with an instruction manual. Children are the authors of their own book of life, from the day they are born…often times from the day they are conceived. From the time we find out that a baby is on the way, we begin to plan, change our lifestyles and prepare for this new person to enter into every facet of our lives. We are excited but have absolutely no idea what we have really gotten ourselves into. We don’t consider the fact that we will lose sleep, never eat a hot (let alone warm) meal for several years, we will never go to the bathroom by ourselves for at least five years and we will spend at least two nights a week on the couch with a small person sleeping on our chest.
On the day of delivery we were handed this beautiful warm bundle of sweetness and pretty much sent on our merry little way without a lot of instruction. I, myself, had never changed a diaper until the day my daughter was born. I was 25 years old and had no idea what I was doing. But she was so beautiful and she was ours and we were going to take her home and be the best parents in the world. Well, she’s still beautiful and we did take her home, but I doubt we will ever win the best parent award. But that’s o.k.
As we have meandered down our road of life, we have come to realize that it is o.k. to make it up as we go along. Each age and stage brings new challenges, new ideas, and new rules. As they grow, we grow right along with them. For example, meal time used to be spent in front of the t.v. on the sofa or standing over the kitchen sink. Once that little person arrives, you decide how important it is to eat at the kitchen or dining room table as a family. And, the music you listened to will become and thing of the past, at least for a while, because after all your little one would rather hear “the wheels on the bus” or the theme song from Barney instead of the loud head pounding music you’ve listened to for years. Your choice in television shows change too. Gone is the lazy Saturday afternoons of movies, sports, etc. Now you get a kick out of watching your little one enjoy the Wiggles, Backyardigans, Blue’s Clues or Dora the Explorer. You will even find yourself singing right along and no longer think it’s childish. You will enjoy those precious moments with your child. Your life changes so quickly and sometimes drastically and you don’t even realize it. You drive the speed limit, check your seatbelt, you don’t talk on the phone while driving, you eat healthier, and the list goes on and on. You do this all because you became a parent.
My family is currently going through the realization that our little ones are not so little anymore and one is actually preparing to leave for college in about eight months. The nerve of her to grow up, graduate high school and go off somewhere to school and leave us after all we have done for her. Sometimes, I feel just like that, but then I catch myself and realize that all of those sacrifices and changes we made in our lives all those years ago were about her (and her brother) and for her (and her brother). We wouldn’t have it any other way. We have spent the past 17 ½ years writing the book of her life. We helped guide her, teach her, nurture her and support her. So as we prepare to watch her walk across that stage and receive her diploma in a few short months, we will have a gift for her as well. The gift will be the book of her life that we will hand over to her and allow her the freedom to write the rest of it, her way, and the way she sees fit. Will this be difficult? Absolutely. Will we try to add a chapter or revise it once in a while? You betcha. But in the end, we must let her be the author of her own life book. After all, she started it all those years ago, she was the author all along, we just held her hand until she learned how to write on her own.