Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Truth about Parenting

The truth about parenting is that nothing can fully prepare you for it. You can talk to a bunch of other parents and read a bunch of books, but, in the end, your child will look expectantly in your direction, and you'll think: Lord have mercy, I'm responsible for helping this person when I need so much help, myself.

Different phases will affect you differently. I'm a champion breastfeeder, which is good in that I start parenting with a bang (or a gush), but bad in that, so far, it seems like my best is behind me by month fourteen or fifteen of a child's life, and then what?

I'm not so great at parenting two- and three-year-olds. I have one of each, at the moment. I yell too much.

With Cade, I enjoyed years four through nine. I cried for three days when he turned ten. At the time, I didn't know why, but now I do. And just when it seemed like we might be figuring it out, again, he started creeping up on thirteen. Last month, he fell over the edge.

I've never been here, before. He's a young man and a startlingly beautiful one, at that, but, already, I miss his other face. I know it's gone forever; did I look at it enough? Did I commit it to memory or, at least, take enough photos of it?

I'm grieving a bit. I realize that's ridiculous; I mean, I have loved ones whose sons have gone to heaven, and I'm whining because mine is growing up. But I do feel a little unsettled.

His grades have slipped, and his dad is so laid back that he might as well be dead. I hung up on him the other day. It was like old times.

On the other hand, Jim's so uptight that, in comparison, I'm looking dead-ish, myself. I feel like bait on a trotline what runs between these two men. Do you see me squirming? Everything rushes by fast and cold, and I'm just trying to catch the ever-growing fish that is the boy.

I have to find my own way, and it may not be the best way, but I can't pretend to be Jason or Jim. I have to be myself. I'm in the waters with the boy, and my hands are open. Lord, help.


  1. Oh gosh Brandee, I just tried looking for an e-mail address...oh, I will facebook message you. You are a great Momma know that!

  2. This post resonates deeply with me today, and I don't yet have a child who's slipped over the brink of teenage-hood.

    "...did I look at it enough? Did I commit it to memory or, at least, take enough photos of it?" I've been thinking these thoughts lately, too, as I'm realizing that my youngest isn't a baby anymore.

    Thanks for this post today, Brandee.

  3. Brandee, there is no perfect parent. Whether you are laid-back, up-tight, smothering, aloof, whatever. Most parents are doing the best they can. All children will test the limits. I know what you mean about missing the little boy. My son has just moved out into his own home. I'm terrified. In my fear, I have to let him be. Detach with love. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. We will survive this, too. :)

  4. I SO get this. My son's personality seemed to morph overnight with that fall of the cliff of adolescence. It is what happens, Brandee, especially with boys. It is a very necessary, but terribly sad process of differentiation that must happen between boys and their mamas. I learned that the best conversations happened in the car, when he didn't have to make eye contact. Or I took him out for a snack at a restaurant (he loved eating out!), just the two of us, on the way to or from some activity of his. You'll find your way, but personally, I think a little grieving is perfectly in order. There is a change now and there is always loss in change. There is gain as well and you will see it - I promise. (But try and talk to him about the grades because that's important for his whole life. At thirteen, he might be open to your words. At sixteen, when my son decided he didn't want to be a brainiac but a 'well-rounded person,' he would not hear. And yet, he still did well enough to grow up and become a doctor, so there is that!!)

    1. Ok, the dr thing did bring some comfort! You always know just what to say...

  5. i miss his face! AHCKKKKK!> you are making me so sad. I mean, my five year old...his baby face was so chubby, we joked about him storing food in his cheeks, wahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  6. Oh, Brandee. How this resonates! I think these thoughts about my girls all the time. As Diana said above, there is always loss in change. That rings so true.
    Hands open to God for his help -- truly, what better place is there to be?

  7. Oh yes, Lord help! I am so with you sister...except for the champion breastfeeding. Well, eventually! Your kids are beautiful. Your life is real. And I scream too much too. The Lord has actually instructed me to lie face down on the floor when I'm tempted to yell and lose control. I've tried it and it works...surrendering to Him! I humbly invite you to check out my contributor community site Bless you and thanks for stopping by my site...

  8. I know this feeling. I had those feelings. You are a great mom. You have a strong marriage and God in your home. It will all be okay. They struiggle for their independance. It takes tears,yelling, hugs and loving. Parenting isn't a science it is improvisation asmy friend Nancy says. Maybe you are familiar with her but if not...
    I'm sending you her link she wrote to her new grandson. It says it all.
    Hugs and love friend. I was a yeller at times, I wish it were not so but, mine all turned out to be great Jesus-loving adults.
    I jokingly say You cannot ruin their self-esteem...I tried. LOL

  9. Parenting is NOT for the squeamish!!! Yes, you are right nothing prepares you for it...the good, bad and ugly. Keep the faith.

  10. Brandee - the uncomfortable stage starts at 10 for me - and I find myself still at a loss. However, from 14 to 19 - they do not smile willingly at a camera. One year we had to coax the lemonade stand girl to stand behind me while I took family photos of the boys. This is the love by faith not by what you see stage. It's where they throw things at you that you never expected. It's where standing firm counts. And, yes, I so get what you said, about how you miss that little boy they used to be - that is between your heart and God now - a beautiful memory you share together and God says, "I know. I know." It's nice to know that I am not the only one who thinks that:) Compatriots in mothering - I like being there with you. If you ever need a prayer partner - without having to even spill the beans on the challenge in your mothering this teen - just send me a note, saying, "Please pray" - and I will stand with you right then, right there! I miss my spiritual mother who used to do that for me. I didn't have to air the dirty laundry - I just had to ask:) I'm including just for fun my stages on parenting:) You gotta have some whimsical fun - even at the expense of our sweet children:) Blessings to you friend. I hear you! (BTW - I wrote a response to your comment at my blog - I think we should do it!)

  11. After that other piece you shared at IP, i *know* you carry a fiery love for that boy-becoming-man. Even when you're blinded by all your mistakes and all that seems to lack, remember, friend, that what he will see most is your love.

    Looking back, even though i fought and hated my parents at times, in my saner moments, i knew that i knew that i knew that they loved me.

    We are told that it covers over a multitude, this love ... hey, that's a good parenting verse, isn't it? :)

    Blessings to you, dear Brandee.