On Being Unique…
I took my son to his job at summer camp this weekend, a place he has been to many times since he was eight years old. This camp, located on 780 acres of land nestled alongside the James River in Central Virginia is a special place for my family. My daughter camped there for several years and spent the last six years working there as well. Leaving my children at camp has become a rather normal ordinary experience. But somehow, this trip affected me a bit differently. As I caught a glimpse of my boy in the rearview mirror (yes, he still rides in the backseat) I realize that like his sister he’s preparing to leave home in the not so distant future. With his junior year of high school right around the corner, I realize that my baby is not a baby anymore. Being a junior counselor at camp requires him to be flexible, quick thinking, responsible, and possess a fun, quirky sense of humor. He has that covered in more ways than one. Knowing that he will be asked to participate in song, dance, impromptu skits, games and more he filled his duffle bag with silly hats, ties, goofy shirts and his hot dog costume; yes a hot dog costume.
When I became a mother I had certain dreams and ideas about who my children would become, what they would be like as big kids and eventually grown-ups. Let’s just say that what I had anticipated and what has actually happened don’t exactly mesh; and I am totally okay with that. As a young mother I always encouraged my children to be themselves, refuse to be anything other than who they wanted to be and yet in my wildest dreams did I think that my little boy would grow up to be the young man he has become and have the confidence to wear a hot dog costume. As silly as it was to be greeted at the door by the hot dog boy I am grateful for his quick wit and silly sense of humor. And while I’m sure the neighbors thought he had completely lost his mind when he went to the mailbox dressed as a hot dog I was proud of him for not being afraid to be silly and have fun.
This summer has brought about a lot of changes for my boy. Not only has he grown physically he has matured and grown his spirit. With his sister being sick for nearly six months he has graciously taken on the role of caregiver to her during the days when my husband and I are away at work. And while he may not always make his bed or pick his dirty clothes up off the floor he has stood steadfast by his sister’s side making sure her needs are met and that she is comfortable.
The importance of instilling a sense of independence, responsibility, life skills and encouraging our children to be their own unique selves is key to the adult they will eventually become. As our children grow it is necessary to provide them with the opportunity to learn and grow in all areas of their lives. As much as I miss the little boy who followed me everywhere I went, playing with race cars, dump trucks and building blocks I really like the big kid who has showed up in his place. He’s funny; he’s extremely smart, kind hearted, sensitive and stubborn. He loves with his whole heart and loves to laugh. I am beyond proud of my boy and know that in time he will be ready to spread his wings and fly away from the safety of the nest knowing that he can make a return flight if he needs to.
Children do not come with instruction books and as parents we will make mistakes; lots and lots of mistakes. It is our job as parents to be the example to our children. Living our lives as we want them to live theirs is an important lesson we must teach our children. American author Richelle Goodrich shared her thoughts on the subject when she penned the following: “You can’t make me be nice. You can’t make me be good. You can’t make me believe. But your example, your kindness, your patience and love will affect me perhaps enough that eventually I may choose to do those things.”
Live well. Be the example. Love with your whole heart. Prepare them fly. Prepare to let them go….
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!
Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!