Parenting Across the Miles
I used to think that parenting was the hardest job in the world. I no longer think that. I KNOW that! All it took was placing 700 miles between this mom and her kids to convince me of it. I will be the first to sing their praises and announce to the world that I have GREAT kids, but they are still JUST kids. Kids make mistakes. Kids have to be taught. Kids have to be corrected when they do something wrong. Kids need discipline and accountability. Kids require a lot of routine, consistency, and modeling. Now try to meet those requirements while living this far away from them.
My morning started with a tearful phone call from my Allison. It then proceeded to a conversation with Blake that went back to Allie and then back to Blake once again. All of this before I even made it out of bed. I will spare you the gruesome details of the event, but if you look closely at the above photograph you might get the idea of how they behaved toward each other this morning. My heart sank as I listened to each side and realized that they had wasted what could have been a wonderful, enjoyable day out of school(they had parent teacher conferences today allowing then a holiday from their classes). How in the world was I to intervene, be just, serve the appropriate discipline, and set the example of consistency that I knew they needed to see all the way from Omaha? I counseled with them both, talked about their roles (that were defined by God) in our family, and let them know that I would be speaking to their father before he came home for lunch. Whatever punishment we decided to serve they both agreed would be deserved. So I left them to sweat it out until Dave made it home.
After talking with Dave we agreed that an essay would be a good place to start. Neither of us were actually there to witness the injustice they served each other so figuring out how to discipline something we didn't see and didn't have the clear facts about had to be creative. What better way to spend their afternoon than sitting across the table from each other writing about the other one and what they appreciate about them. Our requirements? It couldn't be things like: "I like your hair." We wanted it to go a little deeper than that and we wanted them to really think about their relationship with each other. It also had to be two pages in length and had to be single spaced with their NORMAL sized penmanship. (After 12 years of parenting you start to figure them out a little bit and we knew that last requirement would have to be clearly spoken in order to avoid a kindergarten style paper).
Ashley Kate and I went on with our day. I shed a few tears today over the separation of our family and I prayed for the children. Ash and I played and worked on her strength and advanced her feedings to 20cc and hour. We rocked and sang songs. I laughed at her silly attitude and I thanked God for the special hours He was giving me to spend with our youngest daughter. Although it is tough to be apart from Blake and Allison I can see that this time with Ash is precious and we get closer and closer each day.
Tonight I received another phone call from home. No tears were shed by Allie or Blake. They were shed by me. As I listened to their essays about each other my heart soared with pride. They get it. They were able to diffuse the ugliness between them and truly seek to find the qualities in the other one that made them such a special part of our family. I laughed at some of the content. I cried at some of it. I laughed until I cried at parts of Allison's paper. That girl has inherited her daddy's humor! I wish I could share the papers with you , but I don't have them. I did ask Dave to save them for me because I plan on having them framed and presenting them as very special Christmas gifts from the other one on Christmas morning.
I wouldn't trade my job as their mom for anything in this world. I have GREAT kids, even if they do still act like children(thats their job you know). I am truly blessed!