On Facebook recently, we've all read the article written by the mom who basically told teenage girls to stop dressing & acting like tramps. While she, on the other hand, had a photo up of her shirtless teenage sons on the beach, baring their badass muscles. Btw, where is that photo? She removed it? Here's the image she did have up, while slamming others for not wearing clothes & for posing inappropriately.
Then, we read the article about the mom who says don't worry, none of us can do it all & we're all normal. If we have kids, we live like pigs. Totally normal.
And though I don't necessarily dispute this one, we all read the article about not judging out of control children, because we don't know circumstances.
I decided to write my own 'parenting' article.
I grew up with the mindset, honestly after hearing lecture after lecture, of how we should never allow our children everything they want. Even if it can be afforded. I can't afford to give my children their heart's desire, so it's never been an issue. But lately, I've been thinking about it. And my opinion has changed. My pocketbook hasn't, but my mind has. And I'll tell you what got me thinking. A few of you know this story, or some of it.
I have had the same Gynecologist for over 20 years. I've never carried a baby, so typically, other than my breast cancer journey a few years ago, I just see her yearly. Or every year & a half. I cheat.
My Gynecologist is 7 years older than me. I got lucky when I found her - she's one of the sweetest, calmest, most mild mannered physicians I've ever met. She has a delightful, peaceful disposition & I really love her dearly. Over the years, she always kept up with our adoption journey, & every time I go see her, I take photos of my kids. Because she's interested. And she lets it be known. Oddly, we sort of have an acquaintance friendship. I guess that happens when you continue to go to the same dr. for so many years. She's the type of person, the type of friend, that no matter how much time passes between visits, it's like we just saw each other yesterday. I remember years ago when she was pregnant. I found it so strange. I thought 'she's supposed to deliver babies, not make them!' Ha! She's one of the most popular & sought out OB/Gynecolgists in my area.
At the time, her children were all boys. But she always wanted a girl. As her boys grew, she & her husband adopted a precious baby girl from China. My dr. waited a long time for her daughter & treasured & adored every ounce of that little girl. When I would go in for my appointment, I showed her the photos of my kids & she showed me hers. She carries her photos in her lab coat pocket. It's just the sweetest thing. I remember going in for my appointment a few years ago, & was dealt a devestating blow, when her nurse informed me that my dr.'s little girl had passed away in a horrible accident. She was 5 or 6 when she died. I did not ask any details, but found out later her daughter passed away while in the care of her nanny. She drowned. I will never forget that day I found out. I never mentioned it to my dr. - I never told her I knew. I didn't want to bring up any painful memories. I shared in her excitement when she told me they were adopting another little girl from China, a special needs little girl. My dr. has the money to help those babies in need & she knows it & she acts on it. It's just her heart. She brought home her 2nd little girl from China when the baby was about 2 years old. She's several years older now, cute as a bug & her special needs repaired. She has the most loving, fabulous life any little girl could ask for. My dr. told me that she wanted to adopt another, but her husband was hesitant, due to their ages. She was working on him. I had to laugh when she told me "I love him, he's a great guy, but he's kind of boring! We have enough love to offer another child."
When I was in for my most recent appointment, she told me she was indeed adopting another little girl from China. This one around 4 years old. She was so happy. So at ease. She hoped they would be traveling to China in September (last month) to bring her home. Knowing all she/they have endured, I was just thrilled for her. I whispered "I'm so glad your husband got on board!" as I headed to another area to have some tests run. She just looked at me & smiled. After she read my test results, I wished her the best of luck & went on my way. I haven't checked back in, but I hope she brought her third little girl home. I hope all went well because honestly, she deserves nothing less.
You can imagine my shock, a few days after my appointment, when a friend informed me my dr.'s husband had passed away prior. What? How could that be? My dr. had just told me she was adopting another child. I did my research & discovered her husband had passed away a year or so earlier (just happened to be right in between my annuals). I sat in disbelief & distraught all evening. I told my husband how I had had no idea when I was in there for my visit & she never said a word. No wonder she just looked at me & smiled when I made the comment about her "husband being on board". She didn't know I didn't know. I just couldn't believe it. Last I knew, she was adopting another another child & now suddenly, I find out her husband is deceased. Imagine my horror when I learned her husband drowned in a accident while they were on vacation. He drowned! The same, horrible tragedy that she lost her oldest daughter to a few years earlier. All I could mutter is "my God, how much can one family take". Yet, there she was, at work. As dedicated, as calm, as sweet as ever. You would never know by seeing her that her life & her heart had been shattered multiple times. She was adopting her new little girl without her husband.
She doesn't blog anymore, but she used to, & she chronicled their adoption journey when they decided to adopt their second daughter from China. I loved her blog. She gave updates & always showed her quiet wit when she posted. She even included updates on her boys & mentioned how it was so hard to let them go off to college & watch them grow. She is an amazing mother, just another quality of hers that is so endearing & draws so many women in.
She made a comment on her blog one time that has stuck with me ever since I read it. She said that she always gave her children everything. She could afford to, she worked hard to, & she did. Although, I'm sure there were times they, too, got told no. She didn't hide the fact that her children had what they wanted & as a matter of fact, she obviously didn't care who knew. I admire her so much.
She raised good boys. Boys to this day who appear to have a deep, loving, adoring relationship with their mother. I'm not saying I believe her boys were or are perfect, as I'm sure they had their challenging days like everyone else. But I can tell you without a doubt, those are some fine young men. Money had nothing to do with her teaching them about Christ, about love, about giving, about helping, about loving others. Money had nothing to do with her teaching them about confidence, honesty, respect & responsibility. It doesn't take money to teach those things, whether you have an over abundance of it or you don't. It takes one thing. It takes a heart to do that. Her boys didn't end up plastered & in jail, even though their mother gave them everything she could. Her boys didn't end up liars, cheaters, losers or a detriment to society, even though their mother gave them everything she could. Her boys grew up knowing bountiful, pure love.
Life is short. I know I've said this a million times, but we have to live while we're alive. There are no second chances. My dr., of all people, can attest to that. There are no do-overs. This is it. It is what you make it. It is what I make it. It is what my dr. makes it. It doesn't matter what society thinks is right or wrong. It doesn't matter if 'old school' thinks it wrong to give our children much. None of that matters. Happiness matters. Happiness & love. Happiness & love matter.
So yes, if I could, I would give my kids the world, while teaching them what's important. If I could afford to, I'd give them everything they wanted. Because love isn't based on material things. So what if they happen to have a lot. You show me their character. Show me their heart. Because that's what I care about. Not what kind of car they drive.