We get manuals and more instruction with our microwave than with our kids when they're born. About the time we figure some of it out (mostly by our mistakes) they graduate and leave home. I guess we at least keep psychiatrists and family counselors employed, untangling our messes. Maybe we should have included this shirt in their graduation gift bag.
This blog is not about rearing children. There are plenty of books on that, which can equally lead you astray.
My thoughts here are far more trivial. From our empty nest I have a pretty good view of both our failures and our good choices.
Mothers are supposed to be self sacrificing. I'm not sure I wear that label very well. But I did do a few things purely for the kids. Here's my short list.
* Dusty -- He was our dog. He came as a puppy, hidden in a box in a car trunk. We had other dogs but this one was special. I'm not a dog lover, but I love my kids. And they dearly loved Dusty. Mother love.
* Putting Dusty to sleep -- When he was hit by a car and lost a leg, the kindest thing we could do was put him to sleep. It was the kids' hardest day, saying goodbye as we took him to the vet. It was one of my hardest too. I love my kids. When they hurt, I hurt. We all cry. Mother love.
* Driving a wood paneled station wagon -- If we ever were cool parents, it ended with this vehicle. Later parents felt the shift from cool to parent vehicles in their vans! But the kids had more room and loved to sit in the back seat and watch where we'd been. I loved my kids. . .especially in the way back seat. Mother love.
* Tent camping -- We made great family memories around a campfire. And I did love the S'mores. We now do them in our fire pit when the grands come home. But the sleeping bags, bugs, and musty tent-smells were never my thing. Now days my idea of camping would only go as far and black and white TV and for that, last just one day! But our kids loved it and I love our kids. Mother love exists in a tent.
* Hamsters, gerbils, cats and a rabbit--pets I never really wanted. Funerals I never really wanted. Pets killing pets. Mother gerbils eating their newborns! Dusty destroyed the rabbit one dark night. We thought they'd bonded but apparently it was a fake, only-by-daylight friendship on Dusty's part. But it taught the kids about care giving and grief. And I loved the kids.
But they're grown and gone now. It's my turn! Know one of my favorite things about the empty nest? It's empty! No dogs, cats, rabbits, rodents, tent camping or station wagons.
Kids, enjoy your pets, camping and dorky vehicles! The best is yet to come!