Ideal

Sometimes kids say the most profound things.

My younger son just completed two weeks of drama summer camp. He had a blast. He played the part of Prince Phillip in Sleeping Beauty. While he didn’t have the most lines he has had in a play before, he did get to dance with the princess, kill Maleficent, kiss the princess and save the day. Overall, a great show.

After the show we were cuddling on the couch talking about the show and about life. I told him that I let his dad know about the play but he didn’t make it. Instead of making excuses for him (again), I just held him and told him how proud I was of him.

He was quiet for a second, then he looked at me and said, “That’s why when I become a dad I want to be the ideal dad. Not perfect, because everyone makes mistakes, but ideal, as in trying to do the right thing and be there for my kids and their events.” We talked about how important it is to be at your kids’ events: drama productions, sports games, piano recitals, or whatever it is they like to do.

Being a single mom, I struggle with being there for everything he does. I support him in all of his events and I am always there for him, but somehow I never feel like it is enough. I am the “there parent”, the one who is there everyday so inevitably I am also the one who gets the attitude, the tears and the “blah” because I’m there. I’m not the special one; I’m the everyday one. I’m not the one he gets excited to see, but rather the one that he cries to when he is upset, scared or disappointed.

Funny how sometimes we get caught up in being the perfect parent, when all they want is the ideal parent. The one who tries their best and is there for them no matter what. At the end of the day, I would rather be the “there” parent who he relies on for everything.

After a few minutes he looked up at me and said, “Mom, you are an ideal mom. You aren’t always perfect, but you are always there fore me and you always try your best.” He cuddled back into my arms and I grinned – I may not be perfect, but I will take ideal anytime.

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A Joyful Heart

Finally – Equal opportunities for all. I am a Christian who supports ALL of God’s children.

Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog

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One of my biggest faults is that I am apolitical. I tend to do my one little thing raising my kiddos, and consider that my contribution to the world. Whom I admire most are those who are activists, those who stand up for what they believe in and work diligently to make it happen, even if they have to work year after year after year. And so my hat is off to those who have worked so sincerely to legalize gay marriage. Congratulations! WHAT an accomplishment!

I assume that everyone knows someone who is gay. People who are gay are, and I say this jokingly, “just like us.” I understand that there are some religions who firmly believe that being gay is not appropriate. I admire truly religious people who do what they think is right, even if their position is different than mine. But I feel comfortable with my…

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The other side…

On what should have been the first day of summer vacation I attended the funeral for a 13-year-old little girl. It was for a young girl in a neighboring community.

It wasn’t a student I knew personally, but through her I could see and feel the sorrow of hundreds of middle school children who suffer and are sad. They just can’t see beyond the hurt of today.

I wish she could have seen the church today. Full, no overflowing, with people there to love and remember her. I wish she could have felt the love for her in that church.

It breaks my heart to see so many students and teachers on what should have been the first day of summer, saying good-bye to a classmate.

But the saddest part of today is that she couldn’t see beyond her current pain to get help, reach out, or to understand that it will get better.

Every day I work with children and families to try to help them through the middle school years. I don’t have any secrets or magic answers, but I always try to give the kids some perspective and tell them that it does get better.

Adolescence is hard. It was hard when we were kids, but the challenges and pressures that these kids face are so much harder. The media certainly doesn’t help. Nor does the constant access to peers, friends, and total strangers who are all trying to convince them of something different.

teen species

It takes a very strong teenager to stand up to the hype, and not many of them can do that on their own. Then with 2 parents working, or only 1 parent at home and working, the challenges are compounded. The support system is flawed at best and non-existent at worst.

Life is hard. But to all those adolescents out there, it does get better. You will have to work at it to make it better. Surround yourself with people who build you up and care about you. Find activities that make you feel good about yourself. Stand up for yourself and for what you believe in. Be gentle with yourself, mistakes happen, learn from them. And when it feels like you can’t go on, find someone to talk to. When it feels like you are all alone, don’t be. Reach out to someone. There are people out there who care about you. There are people who understand what you are going through, and have made it to the other side.