Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Being grown-up

Thank you all so much for your kind words and comments, especially your confidence in my ability to be a mother.
This is actually kind of amazing to me, since many people who read this blog have not seen or spoken to me in years (and some of us have only met via the blogosphere, which I love. Hello friends.)

But people from my elementary school, middle school and high school repeatedly send me emails that say "you're going to be such a good mom!"
and I have to wonder... do you remember me as a child?
I wore a cape to middle school for a while. Remember that?
I am admitting it on the interwebs, because it astonishes me that people who knew me then (and didn't witness any of the transformation to me now) still have faith in my abilities to be a competent adult, let alone parent.

My husband likes to say things like "If I knew you then, we wouldn't be married." (What a bully he is, am I right?)
But that's probably true, because I was an obnoxious excuse for a teenager.
Very self-righteous. Very self-assured. Very loud and noisy and nosey and whiney and manipulative and ADD.
These things haven't actually changed much.
Except now I'm cooler. (Yikes! Here comes the "self-assured" part of me.)

But seriously.
Travis and I have decided that in order to avoid over-protecting our children, while still providing them with boundaries (all hypothetical, of course, since once they're here I suspect much will change) we are going to let them do everything we did as kids.

That includes things like staying in a swimsuit all day in the summer.
Being allowed to bike as far as you can get on a bike.
Being home alone, sometimes.
Walking to and from school.
Climbing very high into trees and then swinging down.
Carving pumpkins with sharp knives.
Building things with hammers and nails.
Jumping from the roof to a nearby snowbank.
Wading out into swamps to catch frogs, even if you're barefoot and you can't see the bottom.
Swimming without life jackets.
Building fires in the back yard.
Digging very deep snow forts and staying in them for long periods of time.
"Running away" as long as it was to a pre-determined place (I'm not actually sure why I fell for that.)
Exploring corn fields, forests, and riverbeds without any supervision.

But then, maybe it includes things like
Wearing really, really, really stupid clothes out in public.
Growing your hair to your shoulders (ew, Travis. It looked so bad.)
Wearing a wig to school. (Yep. This one was me again.)
Dying your hair orange (me) or black (Travis)
Picking the paint colors for your own bedroom.
Singing solos in choir when you really should have been stopped.
Spending hours in the parking lot at school practicing ollies.
Wearing purple and blue mascara and eye shadow.
Discussing for hours the exact meaning of something overheard on the school bus.
Driving to and from activities in the snow, with a minivan full of other people's children.
And generally being, looking and acting really stupid.

And I admit, I'm more worried about the second list.
Because I know, and you may know, all the stupid and horribly embarrassing things I did as a child and teenager.
My parents would say to me, "You look like an idiot, people are going to make fun of you."
And I would leave the house with my head held high thinking "No one will make fun of me. I'll just pretend this is my real hair."

But good work, parents.
Even though I want to bite my tongue as I say it (or rather... break my fingers as I type it?) it was probably for the best that you let me look and act so foolishly.
It defiantly helped to keep me from resenting you.

I suspect it's much harder to let your children look stupid than your children think.
And I bet it's pretty hard watching them climb all over the roof.
Except, maybe you didn't actually know that we did that.

But those are the things you have to let kids do in order for them to become good adults, right?
So maybe I will be a good mom if only I make myself remember that it's okay to let kids get messy when they're eating spaghetti, and they probably won't die if they're in the woods behind our house (especially if they know how to whistle very loudly), and they'll appreciate it if you let them dress themselves.

So I have to remember what a gross child I was.
And let my kids be just as gross.

That's what I've learned from you and your comments.
Is that what you were intending?

Do you have any more life and parenting lessons for me?
I need them.

But let me just say, generally, Travis and I were pretty cute. Right?

(Pictures of our new place coming soon!)


Polly said...

Thanks for this blog Becky, your hilarious! I appreciate the good laugh. Maybe dad and I were mean, we laughed and laughed when you went to school with a cape on. You sure made life fun and interesting. I know you are going to be a great mom, lots of fun! Even though you never wanted to babysit, you only wanted money. You have always been a great sister and incredibly patient with your siblings, unless they harassed you until your breaking point which we all have. I love to think about when you were little, so fun! Thanks Becky your the best. Travis makes an adorable fairy I bet he appreciates that picture, obviously there is a story we are missing...

Carol said...

After going to the emergency room so many times for 2 broken arms (at the same time) and one broken arm another time, a hematoma that left his leg unable to bend without weeks of physical therpy from a mom who almost made her son cry every time we did it because it hurt so bad, a blood infection caused by a blister that almost made him stay in the hospital with intervenous antibotics, breaking a sisters arm and cracking her ribs on a different occasion and numerous other cuts and bumps and bruises, you might also be a little cautious what your child jumps off of and how fast he is going but sometimes there is no stopping them and you pray a lot that they will come home alive!!

Nana B said...

And what you did as a child and teenager is nothing compared to what boys do as children and teenagers. Remember you are having 2 boys and if you ever let them wear purple eye shadow to school I will personally come and take them away from you!!! But other than that you are correct about letting them do stupid things, they need to learn there are consequences to their actions. And mostly pick your fights. Sometimes its okay to let them stay in their swimsuit or pjs all day, what does it hurt? But the jumping off the roof, that could be dangerous, so that might be a time to be a parent. But you and Travis will be fine, one day at a time is best and lots of patience and/or tolerance. Love You. Grandma

Marge Bjork said...

I could not figure out who that was in the first picture for the longest time.

-Danica- said...

soooooo your blog is adorable and I can't stop myself from reading it. Hope you don't mind :)

Chris said...

Yes yes, this is all great, but will you let them drink pop?

Kaia said...

I really do think you'll be a great mom because when we got to hang out it high school you were lots of fun, always happy, and you stuck with your faith. Those are the three main reasons that I grew to be best friends with my parents. Since they were so easy-going and trusted me I respected them and really didn't make terrible choices. They were a perfect example of incredible love and I know you'll be the same.

My advice besides that, here are some times I've learned from all my in-laws and other new moms: put the baby on a schedule, they don't know what they need and when they need it and you need the schedule. And be consistent with discipline, it may seem like all you're doing is reprimanding but the kids need it. Oh, and one more thing, be fearless in the delivery. Fear is the biggest inhibitor of a quick, easy, and painless delivery :).

I wish you the best!