Monday, July 15, 2013
Sitting back and watching them shine....
For years I ran my family ... almost like a drill sargeant runs his platooon. I told them what to do, where to go, where to sit, how to act, and they listened to me once and a while. But most of the time their issues just made them oppositional and I set them off by simply being a mother figure and being in the room. So sometimes, now that 10 of the 12 are adults, I just sit back and watch and am finding that the lack of my presence actually helps them function better.
Yesterday was one of those days. It was a great one. Even though the parents of our grandson who was being baptised are not together, they acted civil toward each other and were both very pleased (as were we) at how meaningful the baptism was. We had dinner together afterwards -- Eight of our kids, a boyfriend, a babymama, a daughter in law, three of our four grandchildren and my mom.
I didn't sit with them during church nor did I tell them where to sit. But they all sat together in the first three rows. I sat over by the baptismal font by my mom so I could get pictures. They were perfectly appropriate... all of them. At lunch I didn't tell them where to sit and they managed to work it out so everyone was happy. There were no conflicts at the table, no arguments, no tears. It was just a nice day.
It's fun to be finally be mature enough to shut my own mouth and sit back and enjoy things without having to attempt control every move. Without me "provoking them" by suggesting they do things differently, they managed OK.
My mom mentioned to our daughter-in-law last night (she was a day care mom for years and years while I'm growing up so she knows a lot about babies) that Silas, the newborn, probably senses her tension when she is trying to sooth him and he cries for hours. I realize now how that the same thing probably applied when my kids were younger. My tension was escalating everything for them when I was attempting to calm them as they raged or argued or fought with me.
It's only taken me seventeen years of parenting to get mature enough to shut my mouth and sit back and watch. Obviously I couldn't have done that on a regular basis back when they were younger, but I certainly wish I could have been calmer and less controlling. We might have had a lot more fun.
But there is nothing I can do about those days... I can just remember yesterday and apply it to future events. Sometimes it's better to just sit back and trust them... and occassionally, when I can do that, they shine.