Here I sit, on the very couch that I sat our four kids down on when we had our Berenstain Bears moment two months ago. We survived our summer without movies/TV shows/video games…mostly. There were some exceptions to the rule. Overall, we did it. There were some great things that happened; the kids read more this summer than they have in the past 4 years, they came up with some extremely creative games, they spent tons of time outside, and they played together more than ever. Mission accomplished, right?
Oh, wait. When it comes to parenting, mission never accomplished. Silly me.
I don’t regret for one minute our decision to not spend our summer wasting away in front of the TV. That decision did bring about some of the results I had hoped for, but the truth is, there aren’t enough creative activities in the world to keep those kids from getting on each other’s nerves.
So last night we all sat on the couch, once again, and we gave our same talk that we gave two months ago, only this time I had Andy to give them what for with me. Same story; too much fighting, too much selfishness, too much tattling. Every parent feels my pain. I guess this is just the way life works. We’re all jerks from time to time, really.
The good part is, the kids had a fantastic summer. We all did. The experiment was good for the whole family. It didn’t turn our kids into perfect children. It sure as heck didn’t turn me into a perfect mother. But we enjoyed each other, in between some arguments.
As we continued doing our parental duty and lecturing, or discussing, to make it sound nicer, it hit me. Our kids love being with their cousins and family more than anyone else. They’d spend every day with them if they could and I knew why.
I shared my epiphany. “You guys are super close with all of your cousins and love spending time with them, right?”
“Do you know why you are so close with them?”
“Because I am close with my siblings. We all love hanging out with each other and with our spouses too. We fought, just like you guys, growing up. But we still love each other. Family sticks together and looks out for each other, even when you disagree. You get to spend time with your cousins because your parents all want to be together.”
There it is guys. Plain and simple. Sure, I may have broken the Bible Trivia game board over my brother’s head in a fit of rage. Doesn’t mean I don’t love him. Now I go and watch him play drums on a big stage and cheer like a crazy, proud sister should. I can only hope that one day our kids will do the same for each other, minus the board-breaking episode.