Wednesday, May 14, 2014

No Pressure

My husband, on a spree of "We need to start shopping healthier! We need to eat consciously!" kick, recently purchased several items that are lower carb or lower cal or lower something, just to see if we liked them. My kids saw the chocolate milk-protein-shake things and were freaking ecstatic because CHOCOLATE!!! I let them each drink one on the way to their karate and gymnastics classes the other night. In a concerned voice from the backseat, after reading the side of the nearly empty bottle, my 8 year old daughter queried, "Will this make me lose weight? It says 'weight-loss shake' on it... I don't want to lose weight! I don't need to!" I reassured her that the only way it would make you lose weight is if one was to substitute it instead of a meal; not if one is drinking it as a snack. She was relieved. It was only several hours later that I realized how monumental that sentence was from my daughter. She knows that she doesn't need to lose weight. She knows that she is a healthy and appropriate size for her age. She is HAPPY with how she looks!

I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that she has a good self-image, something not all little girls are able to claim. I patted myself on the back and put a little invisible check mark next to the "has a good self image" line on my invisible list of Things Good Parents Do.

She's at such an important age for this topic. But really, aren't we all? Aren't we all at an "important age" for some hot issue or another? 

At 15, my eldest is on the precipice of adulthood. He is zig-zagging over that line that between needing parental involvement for the tiniest of details and being able to exist for days on end with very little supervision at all. At 15, he has to make choices that will determine his future for, if not the "rest" of his life, then at least the very beginning of his adult life. School and Girls and Drugs and Driving and College and...and...This age is so important and vital to his growth that I often whisper in my head "Don't f*ck this up."  But no pressure, right?

My middle son is 12. As I stated, he is also the "middle" which is a unique birth order location to be at, especially at his delicate age of 12. My "not-child/not-teen" teeters between boy and man on a daily basis. I can physically SEE him growing on a daily, if not hourly, basis. I remember being 12. Do you remember 12? 12 sucked. 12 sucked ASS. My own baby is presently living through an age that you seriously could not PAY ME to relive, and that is almost as painful as living through 12 the first time. I watch him and I wonder, "Am I screwing this up? Am I screwing HIM up? Am I parenting him the way that he needs to be parented, instead of just the way I am ABLE to do it? God, what if I'm screwing this up??? Don't f*ck this up." Again, No pressure.

And my youngest... aside from the body image being obviously on-the-mark (Woo-hoo!), how about everything else? Am I ruining her by exposing her to too much, too soon? I know there are advantages and disadvantages to every age and every spot in a birth order, but will the good outweigh the bad for her? Will she someday look at her past and say, "I want to do that for my kids, but change these few little things"?? Or will she want to alter everything for her children? Will she be desperate to be COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from the one major female influence in her life? She's at an age where she will actually remember some of the daily conversations we have. She's finally at an age of Remembering: Will she remember the times I helped her with science and math with patience and laughter, or will she only retain the times I angrily snapped and yelled, "Because I SAID SO" ?? I need to be more patient. I need to be more conscious. I need to be better. I need to not f*ck this up. 

But no pressure, right?

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