A Note From the Past

A wise woman once wrote:

“You can’t wing child rearing despite finest attempts and I KNOW you love her. But she is little and different. Not at all like an adult…I believe in good parenting to the depth of my soul.”

Okay…[deep breath]

#1: Never organize your papers (especially letters and cards from the past) when in a ‘delicate’ mindset. I think I need to sit under a nice wide-spectrum light and combat the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I cried buckets when I read the card she had written.

#2: I heard you and I listened, Diane, for that matter I still am…20 years later.

I have yet to find a person for whom parenting comes naturally. It isn’t that I don’t believe they exist, for I’m sure they do, but the demands that raising a new life bring us are varied, ever-changing, and oh so challenging.I guess that’s why I’m such a believer in parenting classes. If for nothing else, it’s like being handed a toolbox with shiny new features and options guaranteed to improve and enhance. Even if you are already a great parent, getting to take home the toolbox adds clarity and commitment to everything you do.

I wish that I could tell Diane how much her not so subtle push towards that parenting class changed me, and altered everything that would follow in how I related to my children. I fell in love with parenting, the things I learned then and since altered me irrevocably. Not just that, but I was lucky enough to be in a position to help others become exceptional parents as well. Teaching parenting classes has been a true joy for me as I have shared what I have learned over the past twenty years with scores of parents.

I wish Diane could have met my little one, or even her own daughter’s two sons, now aged nine and four. They would have thought she was funny and weird, and they would have liked her a lot.

Diane passed from our lives in early 1994. In the eight years prior to that she infuriated, frustrated, amused, challenged and inspired me in countless ways. She had a quirky way about her, she lived her life fully and without compromise, and she left a legacy behind that I think of often:

  • Enjoy this moment, find humor in life’s dramas and embrace weirdness
  • Be the best parent that you can be, always and forever

A couple of months ago I blogged in Coaching Through Thought and Action – my life coaching blog – that “you must not come lightly” to life change or writing or whatever you set out to do. It bears repeating here. When it comes to parenting, you also ‘must not come lightly.’ As Diane so  eloquently wrote, you can’t wing it, despite your finest attempts. Take the time to think about it, to weigh what is right, to realize you hold such a precious gift in your hands.

I think of the twist of fate that brought parenting classes into my life. And I think of Diane often as I reflect on how those classes affected how I have raised my two children. She was right, “they are little and different, not at all like an adult.”

There are no ‘do-overs’ when raising a child.

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