While sorting through pictures the better part of the day I found so many treasures. Pictures of my children with their Dad when they were small, mementos of their childhood, things they have made for me in elementary school, letters written to Santa Claus and letters written from Santa to them. How did I ever forget what their early attempts at writing letters looked like! The childish scrawl, the misspelled words and total lack of punctuation have left me with a wonder at how much they had to learn back then. Not only with school work, but life in general.
I had hoped they would grow up with very little emotional pain and strife in their life. Yet, each one of them has had the fair share and survived remarkably well. It's been harder for some than the others and some have brought the adversity on themselves by the choices they have made. But that's the part of living that can't be taught; it has to be learned by each individual as a part of the passage into adulthood.
In looking back I realize that I made some mistakes in those trying teen-age years. I tried to follow something that I had read in the Ann Landers column. I am going to post it with the hopes that those of you with teenagers will also find it to be of some benefit while raising your kids through difficulties in this world:
I loved you enough to ask where you were going, with whom, and what time you would be home.
I loved you enough to insist that you save your money and buy a bike for yourself even though we could afford to buy one for you.
I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.
I loved you enough to make you take a Milky Way back to the store (with a bite out of it) and tell the clerk, "I stole this yesterday and want to pay for it."
I loved you enough to stand over you for 2 hours while you cleaned your room, a job that would have taken me 15 minutes.
I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment and tears in my eyes. Children must learn that their parents aren't perfect.
I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your actions even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.
But most of all, I loved you enough to say no when I knew you would hate me for it. Those were the most difficult battles of all. I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won something, too!