changes and choices


I typed this about three weeks ago:

Our little world has been seeing some pretty big changes lately. Gradual, but good and important. 
It all started with a book that your Uncle Levi told me to read called, "Loving Our Kids On Purpose" by Danny Silk. 

God used the book to show me through some tough realities about my foundation of parenting and mostly at first, my control issues. 
I never realized how very very controlling I am. 

The road to understanding how to replace external control with taking control of myself, to stop enabling and coddling the people in my life, to stop using my words and actions to bully people into giving me what I want when things get really bad, and to work on "creating a culture of honor" (another amazing book), is winding, twisty, bumpy and long. 

But why just work on one issue at a time?!  

There is more. A new perspective on parenting. What we are doing with you and why. How we have been such "drill sergeants" and "helicopters", shelterers, baby-ers, bosses, stiflers, thieves... we have taken most of your opportunities to learn good life lessons at a low cost and snuffed them out through what we thought was "taking good care of you". 

We have both treated you as though we could and should make you do whatever we expected from you... as though you should be who we imagine you to be. We've let other people (even complete strangers) sway our choices, and we have not been willing to sacrifice for your gain. We thought we were doing the right thing. Of course.  

So now, we are moving forward, healing and transitioning toward something we really believe in. Today, your Dad blew me away with his rendition of the process. And I am coming along, too. Slowly.

We really do want the best for you. I am grateful God is pointing things out and molding these changes. Everyday is another step further.

Thank You God. 

Today, this process is in a different stage. I feel like things are coming along well. I still screw up, but less often. And I don't beat myself up about it nearly as much. I can SEE this working itself out in us. In more ways than just parenting.

But as I get closer and closer to representing who I am regardless of other peoples' choices and actions (including yours), my calm and self-controlled behaviors freak you out more and more.

It is sad how much you would prefer to be snapped at and told what to do. 
It is sad how much I have disrespected you all the while looking for some respect from you. 
It is sad how much you believe you can control me because I have let you for so long. 
You had grown quite accustomed to my strange balancing act of control and enablement.

I think (I hope) that you are coming to the head of your struggles with our new changes. You are not used to being in an environment that requires you to be in control of your actions and be responsible for "cleaning up your own messes". 

And to help us along, God has included a few other people now and then to assist me in our training. Mine and yours. 
Smiling people with love in their hearts. Together we are showing you something you have never seen before. And it is breaking you down.   

You have gone from blatantly asking me not to give you anymore choices, to a screaming hair pulling meltdown, to finally admitting to me that "people are treating me right and being nice, but I DO NOT FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT."

In my absence you told your Dad the other day that you wanted me to stop. You explained to him that I'm not really giving you control and choices. I'm just telling you two things I would like you to do and expecting you to feel in control. :) Daddy says you are on to me. 

But this is good stuff. 

I heard you very calmly reassure a good friend of yours who was (innocently) trying to manipulate you the other day, "you cannot control me"...almost as if to remind yourself. And you BELIEVED it. 
Finally. Taking care of yourself like you are watching Mommy take care of herself. 
Be In Control Of You. :) I love it.

I take every opportunity I get to sit with you in empathy and talk about what we are experiencing as a family. I tell you how I was wrong before. How my past decisions as a parent put you in the place you are struggling away from now. How very very sorry I am for doing that to you. I am being honest with you. I know that you are smart and will process through this best if you can see the whole picture. 

And I've told you this already. But I'm SO proud of you. You're so strong and wise beyond your age. And I now understand exactly what my own Dad was talking about... 
I absolutely adore growing up beside you.  

Love, Mom