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Parenting Thoughts

Saying Goodbye to Our Children

My husband and I are just a few short days away from bidding our daughter farewell for a few months as she leaves for her summer employment. Hers is the quintessential summer job – working in the sunshine along a coastline, meeting people from every corner of the earth, riding roller coasters just about every day for free and making lifelong friendships. Earning money for college is a pretty nice perk, too. We couldn’t be happier or more excited for her. Yet, it is still tinged with a bit of sadness.

It tugs at our heart every summer when she leaves. It’s one more summer when she misses the Summer Festival Parade and Grand Prix Races. She won’t be at the family reunion or all of the summer birthday parties. No band concerts or rides on the South Shore. She’ll miss our family’s mini fireworks extravaganza and bonfires once again.

It’s been said that God gives parents teenagers to make it easier to say goodbye. Somehow, I expected that when it would be time for the goodbyes to come, that it would feel like time. We would be ready. But, it doesn’t feel like time, and we’re not ready. What we would give to wind back the clock!

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Preparing with Children for Spring Storms

If you were wondering to yourself whether spring would ever return, you got your answer this week. As the lightning danced across Wednesday’s night sky, Mother Nature reminded us that it’s not always a peaceful transition from winter to spring.

For weather geeks like my husband and me, spring is an exciting time of year, meteorologically speaking. The adrenaline rush from an approaching thunderstorm is second only to the thrill of an approaching blizzard.

Still, for others, especially children, spring storms can be frightening. They can even be deadly. Heed recommendations to seek shelter and be prepared well ahead of the storm.

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Children and Gossip

It’s generally understood that instilling respectable values in children is an adult responsibility. Sometimes, though, it’s the children who are reminding us of those values when we go astray.

Such was the case of little Opie Taylor when he taught a virtuous lesson to the adults in Mayberry on  “The Andy Griffith Show”. Alongside his friend Howie, the two 5th graders set out to publish the Mayberry Sun, their own small town newspaper. When initial sales of their paper are sluggish, the bumbling deputy Barney Fife encourages them to seek out “hot copy”, stories that will get people reading.

Opie and Howie set out to model their news after the local column, “Mayberry After Midnight”. Midnight is way past their bedtime, so the “youngins” have to rely upon eavesdropping to let them know what is going on around town. Pa, Barney and Aunt Bee were none the wiser.

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Favoritism in Parenting

It’s fair to say that at one time or another, any child with a sibling feels that his brother or sister is parents’ “Favorite.” That title may have been bestowed by one sibling to another when he or she gets a reprieve from washing the dinner dishes, a later bedtime or seems to always get to choose the restaurant.

While many parents wouldn’t admit to having a “Favorite” child, a mother from England had no qualms about broadcasting hers. The mother of four children – girls who are nine, seven and two and a son who is one – recently appeared on the British daytime program This Morning. Her interview caused an uproar with her comment that her 2-year old daughter is her favorite child. She explained this away by saying that her oldest daughter was colicky and her second daughter was once her favorite. As for her son, she claims that she really wanted another girl.

Sometimes as parents, we play favorites with intention, but for good reason. Think of the newborn who needs more attention, or the child who may have special needs. Age sometimes sets apart middle children, who likely don’t get the chance to reap 100% of parental attention as do the oldest and youngest.

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Us Time

Whenever I need a good belly laugh, I pull out a Garrison Keillor story. One of my favorite Keillor tall tales is – “My father always said that you can’t plant corn and date women at the same time. It just doesn’t work. You can only do one thing at a time.”

I love that line. Aside from the awkward relationship between corn and dating, this statement holds some merit.

Many of us have learned to multi-task, perhaps more out of need than desire. Churning 72 hours of “to do’s” into a single day, in order to make room for tomorrow’s “to do’s”, demands this skill. And, it’s always a work in progress.

Most parents would agree that the finite number of hours each day and infinite number of responsibilities leave little time for that precious “us” time. The “Date Night,” or even two hours of “alone time” to curl up on the couch and watch a scary movie together that’s entirely too inappropriate for a toddler to see, can easily disappear unless couples make a conscious effort to hold onto them.  

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