As a parent, my goal was to raise strong-willed, independent, adventurous and life-loving children, giving them wings to be their authentic and true selves…and I believe that I have done that. Through multiple parenting classes that allowed for voice (How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk) and choice (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting, Sibling Rivalry and anything Barbara Coloroso), opportunities for adventure (no cable) and a lot of luck and hard work, my three adult daughters are just that. They took those wings and have just soared in life, standing up for what they believe in, making choices in life that allow them to grow and living their lives in the best way possible…for themselves.
And there’s the catch…the idea that they would be making choices that are right ‘for them’! When I imagined these independent, powerful women, I didn’t take into account that the choices they would make or the opinions they would have wouldn’t necessarily be mine. Who dathunk that ‘independent’ meant just that, particularly when all three are so very different, one from the other?
Over the years, I may have cringed a time or two when my children walked across the threshold on their way to school or an evening out in an ensemble that rivalled something best worn by Phyllis Diller or Ru Paul in a nightclub or the Cat in the Hat in one of Dr. Seuss’s many children’s novels. Yet, they wore them with flair and a whole lot of pride!
I may not have loved that one traipsed literally across all corners of the Earth, hitchhiking her way through many countries with little more than a toothbrush. Yet, this child has had so many incredible life experiences that continue to astound and amaze me!
I definitely wasn’t overly enthused when another chose to drive through the night to get to her destination because…well, she could. Yet, crazily enough, she made it in one piece and was there to celebrate her friend’s birthday with their many friends, creating memories that she will cherish for a lifetime.
I can guarantee you that I was not impressed when one ended up in my bed after an evening of festivities, smelling much like the remnants of beverages that would be best left on the barroom floor. Yet, she learned albeit it the hard way that perhaps less is more!
I may not have been grateful for every one of their significant others who have graced our home with their presence, and although I bonded with a number of them, there were others who caused to me to rethink my tactics to avoid becoming that crazy mother-in-law that everybody dreads. Oh, did I bite my tongue! Yet today, my daughters are with wonderful, loving partners who treat them with incredible grace and kindness.
So no, I didn’t love every decision that they made, as some made my hair stand on end and others just added to the lustrous gray that I so carefully cover with my dye jobs. But…and here’s the kicker…they are kind, gracious, loving women with amazing partners, strong opinions and a carefree independence that makes my heart sing. Do they think like I do? Not always…and sometimes, not often. Does it matter? No…because they get to live their own experiences…their own mistakes…and their own life lessons.
And what have I learned through my own experiences as a mother. Give your children the wings that they need to soar…just don’t expect them to fly in formation with you! The beauty in this is that you get to go along for this crazy ride that is their life…and every once in a while, you will find yourself laughing hysterically at some of their decisions because…well, karma’s a bitch and sometimes, it’s so very well played!