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Traditions & Honesty

August 18, 2010

I’m going to try and catch up, rapid-fire.  Since few of these feel relevant.  And because I’m avoiding challenging myself while I have cramps and work is busy.

Challenge No. 15Start a Tradition.  I think we’re getting to the end of this one.  We’ve had traditions – especially since Writer Dude joined our family – for years.  And they are starting to peter out, now.  With Lemon entering high school, “Friday Movie & Ice Cream Night” is less appealing than “hanging out with my friends” night.  Even Mouse is starting to look at doing other things (sleepovers?  escorted trips to the movie theater?) on Friday nights.  But our tradition was grand while it lasted.  And it’s still grand on the nights it works out.  For a little while, Lemon was turning down plans with friends to stay home for our movie night.

And it was only in the past year or so that we gave up “Family Game Night.”  We were less consistent with that one, but we did love it.

It’s okay with me that these traditions are winding down.  I think that the memories are there.  They are good memories, and they provide the girls with the foundation that we want for them – home is a fun, safe place.  Your family is a fun, safe group of people.

We still have annual traditions – New Years Eve being the one that is held most dear.  Again, thanks to WD.  He’s the one who fashioned the first movie-marathaon/smorgasbord one New Years Eve – maybe it was 2004?  Maybe 2005?  Now that the kids aren’t as little, I want to do other things on New Years Eve.  Socialize, perhaps?  But I can’t get anyone to agree to leave the house, because of the tradition.  (The one time in the year that we let the kids pick out a 2 liter bottle of soda, and it’s all theirs!)

Challenge #16Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

I no longer have to worry about the kids’ comprehension level.  Sure, over-talking is still a concern, and I don’t want them to glaze over.  I could, maybe, like Mir, often be tempted to “Make with the Words.”  But that would be bad.  I’d lose my cred.  (heh heh.  They’d be so embarrassed to know I just said that.)

Sometimes, too, I might get mad and say “you’re grounded for a month!” And WD rolls his eyes at me, because he knows I didn’t mean what I said.  And he might find it ridiculous that I didn’t mean it, and that I did say it.

But this one – with kids my kids’ ages – is easily paired with the “hey, I’m not perfect!” acknowledgment.  In those (relatively rare) moments that my anger causes me to burst out with a reactionary punishment, I can say “that was just reactionary, let’s re-assess,” and the kids are old enough to take that.

Challenge No. 17Don’t Ask, Tell.  I adjust this one up for age, too.  Fortunately, I had it pointed out to me when they were young, and didn’t think it was as challenging as some of the other “parenting techniques” that I had learned (like “don’t get mad.” or “don’t let them watch t.v.”).  I still do this.  I don’t say, “honey, would you mind cleaning the bathroom for me?”  I instead say, “I’ve got a lot to get done, and I need you to clean the guest bathroom.  You cannot go out with your friends until it’s done.”  I do it respectfully, though.  I wouldn’t say that for the first time when they’re on the way out the door.  I give sufficient notice, and give them some control over the when and the how.  Just not the if.

I also try not to “tell” as much as my mother did.  Meaning, I don’t say “go get me a glass of water.”  Or “Go get my purse.”  But I will ask, “oh sweet daughter of mine, could you pleeeasse go get your loving mother a glass of water?  with ice?  in my favorite glass?”  (and oh yeah, I get that back from them, believe me.)

Challenge No. 18Get Happy!

Oh.  Yes, I would like to smack this one in the face.

I’ll “get happy.”  especially on this day that Lemon got up at 5:30 to run with me and spent the entire 45 minutes that we were outside being the grouchmeister.  While I was suffering from cramps, she was refusing to talk hardly at all, and responding to my every conversation-starter with “really, mom?” [for every generally embarrassing or “ridiculous thing I said] or “just stop.” [that was my wondering aloud when she’ll ever get her period, and my commenting on the increase in her … development, which is actually what triggered my wondering if the period was on its way ….]  She wasn’t allowed to tell me to “just stop.”  I told her it was rude, and that it was not okay.  She said fine, but then found something else to say that required me to again say “stop being such a snot.”

And did I mention the cramps?

But in reality.  I have gotten happy.  I am happy.  When the girls were small, I was a lot less happy.  And it was hard to be a mom, and to be responsible for other people, and their growth and development, while very, very unhappy.  I got out of an unhappy marriage, and with that came a ridiculous increase in my self-esteem.  Enough so that I could pursue furthering my own education, and starting a career, and generally being proud of myself again.  And now I am generally happy, and I am happier with the mother that I am.  Times 10,000.

And now, I am caught up.

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