I called my mother today. It was urgent. Dire. I needed to tell her something so important, it couldn’t wait.
“Thank you, mom.”
I’m 37. It’s finally safe to admit nearly two and a half decades later that my mom was right. She knew what she was talking about. One day I would thank her. That day was today.
What prompted my call was not something my own kids did. I have a little over a year before my oldest becomes a teenager and my hair really turns gray. Before I learn the curve of hormones, and puberty and peer pressure invade our house. Before my kids realize that I am an imposter and am still learning as I go.
Thank you for opening my eyes.
Today was an eye-opener. I sat with a friend and listened. Her struggles were hard. Her worry was great. Her confidence in her decision wavered even though her gut told her she was right. At that moment, I truly appreciated all the times my parents “nipped it in the butt” before whatever it was, could take hold. All the times they listened when I just needed someone to hear me. All the time, they offered encouragement when my confidence lacked and support when my knees felt weak.
It’s hard being a teenager. It’s hard being a parent. It’s tough to know when to punish, when to seek counsel, and when to offer a hug. Always provide a hug.
Growing up, there were so many decisions I made that needed redirection and correction. They required a firm talking to and a good grounding. My parents did and did appropriately. But they offered correction without being condescending. They were firm but not degrading. They pointed out mistakes without deconstructing character. Above all of that, they did so backed by a heavy dose of love. Even when teenage me was exhausting and frustrating, they were good role models. Good people. Good examples. Could I thank you enough?
If you have a child in your life, teach them to be determined without being aggressive. Kindness is not a sign of weakness. Generosity doesn’t indicate wealth or pity. Mistakes are lessons to be learned from if given a chance.
We are raising them to be adults while allowing them to be children.
If you have an adult in your life who helped guide and encourage you to make the right decisions while building you up, let them know you appreciate them.