Yes, I know I'm not the only one who blogs about having teenagers, the problems with teenagers, how to get rid of teenagers. Ok, the last one I jest. A little.
I just read this blogpost from Shannon, aka Rocks In My Dryer. http://rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/shannon/2008/11/what-we-remembe.html
and obviously it got my thinkbox to roaming aimlessly through the marvelous theatrical trailer of "the life & times of Misha". It also made me think of what memories my teenagers may have of their childhood and what the hubs and I have contributed to their mental movie reel of cherished memories.
I have to say that I am completely different from Shannon in remembering good vs. bad memories. I recall mostly bad memories. Not that my life was horrific but I've had things that have happened to me that weren't exactly idyllic. As I think back right at this very moment, most of my good memories involve my grandmother more than my mom. My mom was a YOUNG single mother of the late 60's, 'nuff said. My grandmother stepped in to help in parenting me for the first 4 years of my life. My mom eventually got married to a man that adopted me. But he had been married before and already had a son. Coupled with his ex-wife and his own family background, it made for a lot of drama in our household. My memories consist of alot of arguing and yelling and fighting. Between mom & kids, dad & kids, mom & dad. Wasn't uncommon to settle a problem with someone screaming in your face and/or a belt beating.
I vowed, with my own kids, to not repeat the history. I failed miserably. I have had my children ask me several times to not yell at them when they do something wrong. I think that I have gotten better as the years have rolled on. There are times I still slide back into the old screaming, nagging, whiny mom. The difference now is I catch myself. Either in midflow or even before it starts. Do I say this to glorify myself for recognizing the pattern and stopping it? No. I say it to show that the Lord has given me strength and the knowledge to do so. Of recognizing that it is not easy to change a habit that had been ingrained into you for years and you cannot do it by yourself. That He revealed to me that you can talk to your kids about problems and issues and they will listen. Really, they will listen more when you are not yelling at them. They may not act on your advice or understand what you are saying the first (hundred) times. But it sticks.....eventually.
It's also important to create those fun times with them. To do fun and crazy things with them (such as an impromptu food fight, in your own home of course) or sitting in the living room talking with the TV off and sharing jokes and laughing.
Also remember to hug them and kiss them and love on them. They need your touch. They may not say it but they do. More so than you could ever know.
I say all of this because a very recent memory popped into my own head while reading Shannon's post.
Last night my 18 year old son slid onto the couch where I was sitting and leaned up against me for a bit then slid down to the opposite side and put his feet on my legs. My 16 year old daughter greeted me at the door last week wanting a hug.
When I was a teenager, it was very rare that my mom and I hugged or showed any type of affection at all.
So maybe I'm doing ok at this mom thing after all.......
but only by the Grace of God.