It’s been a funny old 25+ years….
Woke up this morning and Poof! Just like that, I am the no longer the mother of Teenagers! How, and more importantly When, did that happen?
It’s definitely been the hardest, toughest, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done! And…..
I don’t regret a minute of it…
When that first newborn is laid in your arms, wiser heads tell you to enjoy it, don’t wish away the time- because it passes quicker than you think.. and of course, they are right! From the smell of a newborn head, to that baby giggle.. first night they sleep thru.. their first tottering steps (away from you, generally).. that squidgy small hand trusting the larger one to keep it safe.. the upended food plate on the floor.. first work of art.. first day at school.. first sleep over… first best friend… first disappointment- your heart breaks for them.. first school award.. swimming sports, weekend sport, art, and drama classes… college… each phase with challenges and rewards.. I learnt to not wish the time away.. it sped fast all of its own accord..
Social Media is full of inspirational proclamations – “Stop and smell the Playdough”, “spend time, not money”, “play time is more important than worrying about a tidy house”…. all true..
I spent nigh on 24 years driving kids to preschool, school, camp, school outings… invaluable! Time spent in the car, listening to their day, consoling, or congratulating.. Meeting their teachers, classmates, other parents- invaluable.. teaching me about the Gang of Three’s likes, dislikes, aspirations… watching them unfold to the people they are today… learning about myself in the process..
And over this past, really globally difficult year, I have had the chance to spend quality one on one time with all of them. Man! These adults rock! Their wisdom: empathy, smartness, common sense, and sense of old fashioned decency has, at times floored me. I do know that I had something to do with what they have learned about life over the years; but how they put all that stuff into their day to day lives, is all their own doing. And as adults their choices on how to live are all their own. They live in uncertain times; and while they do have a comfortable cushion with us; they will need to use all their smarts to have what we all aspire to…
We’ve discussed the pandemic and its long term fall out – they all bought into the steps we needed to take, to stay safe – for the good of the community; not just the good of themselves. They watched as the supposed adults of the world continued to make the wrong decisions – and grieved for all those strangers who’s lives will never be the same. And together, we watched the US election and the subsequent fall out; and they were both saddened and maddened by the attack on democracy. Very wise heads on young shoulders. They, and their friends, are what really give me hope for the future. WE should listen to them all more…
Us, older folk have managed to screw up bits of the world. It is their future, and we need to give them a voice and a way to make the changes we all need to make. The notion that young people should be seen and not heard, is long outdated and needs to be gone. They may not have the wisdom that age brings; but they also don’t carry the baggage that age comes with. A fresh approach is always welcome…
All 3 have had health issues during the course of their teens. None of them had a “normal’ teenagehood; and yet they all came out with compassion, not self-pity; courage, not defeat; and a real sense of paying it forward. These 3 would have earned the right to feel at odds with life and the world in general, but they express only kindness towards others. And they all attract good people around them. Their challenges have taught their peer group that not everyone in life is the same; their friends have learned compassion and care from having to accommodate these 3s alternate needs in their own lives. And in lockdown; they all came through for these 3..
And my biggest joy? The one that surpasses all of this? The relationship they have with each other. Over Christmas the best sound was hearing them hanging out and shit talking each other Lol. I know, with all certainty; that long after I’m gone, these 3 will look out for each other. They will have each other’s backs. And they will keep in touch… and possibly still shit talk each other virtually 😉
Lol; they are not saints tho. And individually, and collectively they have driven me crazy at times. I was saved the worst of teenage rebellions from them… but they have all done dumb shit; and argued with me; and broken the rules… Made me angry and at times, made me cry…
And if you’re struggling with any stage of your kids’ development – babyhood, toddler, child, pre-teen, teen, or young adult; ask for help. It serves no good purpose to go it alone. True friends won’t judge you as a failure; if for what ever reason, your kid is having a tough time. We used to raise kids in villages; and for some reason, we don’t now. Parenting should never be a solo job. We should be supporting each other; we all have a vested interest in building a healthy and whole next generation…
And no blog about my kids could be written without mentioning my first born. Baby Bridie. My eldest, sadly she never got to make her mark on the world. I often wonder about her, how she would’ve looked; how she would’ve grown up.. But then I think, she has left her mark. I think my eldest, her twin, carries the heart of 2 people… And I like to think she looks out for all of them, their own personal guardian angel. She was the first of my bairns I got to hold; and that memory will never leave me.. .
I am often heard joking about the kids never leaving home, but y’all know that that’s bittersweet for me… Recently I’ve just been relishing the bonus time I get to spend with these fantastic people, and the others they have brought into my life.. My Empty Nest will come soon enough… am happy to enjoy my lot..
So. to my fabulous whanau, my kids are blessed to have y’all in their lives, thanks for being so involved with them.. Xx
To my friends; you people have shared this journey with me (sometimes just because I’m a chronic over-sharer); you’ve been my support, my sounding block, my inspiration… and when the shit has hit the fan – my stress relievers x
And to Baby Bridie, No 1 Son, No 2 Son and Miss Mish.. luv ya long time.. xxx
Poipoia te kakano
Nurture the seed
and it will blossom