Can you be an orphan at forty-six?

Can you be considered an orphan at forty-six years of age?  I always said (still do) that when your second parent passes away you feel like an orphan. Not to diminish the pain that children who lose their parents at a young age must feel, because that is truly horrible, but I can attest to the fact that there is still pain to be felt at forty-six and counting.

My father passed away eleven years ago today and my mother twelve years prior to that. Today I am reminded by the calendar, other days a picture on social media, a commercial on TV, a precious smile from their newest great-grandson, or even something I see that I know one or both of them would love or hate.  Yesterday I ran into a friend who is planning an 80th birthday party for her mother.  Although I am happy for her and her mom, I could not help but feel a pang of envy and longing  I miss them both so much….

mom & dad

 

I grew up in Cornwall, Ontario a small city not far from Ottawa.  Now that my parents and most of their siblings have passed on, and most of my own siblings have moved far away, I feel that my connections or roots are slipping away, especially in the Cornwall area.

If you are lucky enough to have one or both parents alive, give them a hug or a phone call to show you appreciate their presence in your life.  Trust me, you will miss them when you no longer have that opportunity!

Happy birthday from above

I read somewhere that when a cardinal (the red bird type) makes an appearance in your yard, they have come to tell you that a departed loved one is thinking of you.  As I was pouring a cup of coffee first thing this morning, I noticed this bright red cardinal in my garden…

As he hopped through my (still snow covered) garden, he stopped to pose a few times and sing a few notes before a female cardinal joined him.  As she is less brilliant in color, a brownish red instead of the bright red, she was harder to photograph.

I think the cardinals were a Happy Birthday message from my dearly departed parents.  My dad was an avid bird lover, and my mother was never far from his side…

Rebellious teens

I don’t think anyone will argue that raising rebellious teens is challenging for even the best parents.  I once told my eldest son that since there is no book available to tell parents how to react to every situation, the fact that we were winging it was something he would have to accept.   We were doing the best we could with the resources we had.  

My youngest son is now eighteen, almost out of the rebellious teen phase.  We have to patiently remind ourselves that our two oldest sons have made the transition into responsible adults, so the third son will probably get there too.  I am grateful that the rebellious stages we have encountered so far have been quite mild compared to stories I have heard from parents of other families.  

My sister was not so fortunate when her daughter was a teen.  Throughout this difficult time in my sister’s life she shared many of her worries for her daughter with me.  She wondered if she, as a mother, was doing everything that she could to prevent irreparable damage in her daughter’s life.    She learned from experience that the line between helping your children and enabling them is often blurred.  

The purpose of this post is to prove that rebelious teens can and do turn out to be responsible and successful adults.  Although I had heard that my niece had worked hard to get her life under control,  I was thrilled to see the evidence last month when visiting my sister in Texas for her BIRTHDAY.   That is thrilled and proud of both my niece and my sister for their resilience and perseverance.   Married with three children of her own, my niece, now 35 years old, appears to have her head on straight, and is doing a wonderful job of raising her children.

I hope my niece realizes the stress she put on her parents growing up, but also recognizes that her parents did the best they could.  No parent is perfect in their parenting skills.  No parent does the right thing all of the time because no parent knows the right thing to do all of the time.  The lines between helping and enabling do get blurred for parents everywhere.   I hope this knowledge and advice, as well as the fact that her well-experienced mother is a valuable resource, will help my niece when her children become rebellious teens…

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca

 

 

Are we Enabling our Children to be Irresponsible, Self-centered and Lazy?

When we give our kids everything they want and do everything for them are we enabling them to be irresponsible, materialistic, self-centered, lazy and immature?  As a parent we should provide our children with the necessities such as food, clothing, a place to sleep, and a roof over their heads.  Throw in unconditional love and moral guidance from infancy through to adulthood and they should have everything they need to succeed in life.

Most parents that grew up with parents raised during the depression feel the need to give their children the things they wanted but never had as a child.   That feeling is understandable; there is no doubt that we all want the best for our children. The problem is, these “things” are just that; toys, phones and other electronic devices, designer clothes, even their own cars, showered on our children do not teach them the valuable lessons and work ethic we learned growing up.  These materialistic things are now expected by our children, but often not appreciated.

Most parents currently raising teenagers could not wait to finish school, get a job, move out on their own and become independent from their parents.  If we went to post secondary school, we paid for all or most of it ourselves. We worked at jobs to pay for our social activities, the latest styles in clothing, and our first cars. Very few of us received an allowance from our parents to help defray these extra costs.  If we did not pay for it ourselves, we did not get it.  We appreciated the things we bought because we worked hard for them.  We also respected the things others purchased because we knew they worked hard for them.  We made mistakes along the way, but almost always learned from these mistakes and tried to rectify them without the help of our parents.  Our parents taught us that respect is earned by choosing the ethical and moral path to success and working hard to get there.  They did not love us any less than we love our children, they just taught us better life lessons.

Many teenagers today do not take responsibility for their actions.  They blame their teachers, coaches or others when achieving less than perfect results.  They get their parents to fix their problems, and the sad thing is we do it!  They often do not look after their own (or our) possessions and have no or very little respect for the possessions of others.  For example, before our sons drove cars, every autumn when we cleaned out our garage to prepare for winter, we would find several bicycles that did not belong to us.  We would ask where they came from, but no one knew or cared enough to retrieve them.

We should stop enabling our children unless we want them to become unsuccessful, immature, irresponsible and lazy adults, dependent on us for way too long.   Provide them with the love, respect and guidance they deserve, but encourage them to spread their wings and earn their own way in the world.  They will be better off in the long run.