I grew up in a rather rigid and fairly authoritarian household. While my mother would eventually became my dearest friend that transition didn’t happen until after I had reached adulthood and had left the house. In my family, my dad was the boss and we all knew it. My father was one of sixteen kids born to sharecroppers in rural Arkansas who came of age during the civil rights movement. His was a life that did not inspire warm fuzzies and as a result as his eldest child, the parenting that I received was not particularly warm or fuzzy.
I have always hated the blame the parent’s line of thought that some are comfortable with, but I have never doubted that some of the issues that I have with anxiety were rooted in the fact that as a child I never felt I could just say what I wanted or needed to say. Hell, even at eighteen when I ran off and got married on a whim it took me two months to get the courage to actually tell my parents what I had done. You would think that by that stage of life I would feel comfortable saying what I needed to say…nope, not at all.
The past two decades have required a lot of work on my part to learn that is it absolutely okay to speak up in fact it is a necessity. However even at nineteen when my first child was born, I knew that I always wanted any child of mine to feel that they could always talk to me, no matter what. My eldest is now twenty and so far, it seems that he does indeed know he can talk to me, no matter what. He knows that if his own melancholy runs deep at 2am, I am available albeit a tad groggy, but no matter what, I will listen to him and his truth.
I realized tonight that my daughter aka the seven year old may be learning that too. With my daughter I intentionally have chosen a style of parenting that from the outside can look at times a tad lenient aka “gee, that kid is spoiled”. Some of the worse arguments the man unit and I have ever had, have been over my style of parenting but I think that our kids are our guides and I have always felt that she needed this style of parenting.
Tonight while getting ready for bed, she shared with me that she has a crush on a boy. Yep, we got our first crush! I am less concerned about the crush since I was about the same age when I had my first crush and more interested in the fact that at seven, she felt and knew that it was okay to share that with me. I still remember my first crush and I can assure you, I didn’t tell my mother in fact I cannot even imagine telling either of my parents such things at seven.
I was working late tonight so she actually told the man unit first and then told me and I have to say it’s alright by me. Granted she says the object of her affection is one of the “bad” boys, which as she explained means he gets in trouble a bit in class. Sadly she says the object of her affection doesn’t like her but isn’t it always that way? So I sit here tonight happy knowing that while I don’t do too many things right in this world, I might be doing half okay at this parenting thing. As long as my kids know that I am always here to support them and they feel comfortable coming to me, then I am rock star no matter what the world says.