Parenting is hard.
It’s really hard.
Most days, I feel like I’m falling short. Forgetting something. Leaving someone out. And not loving on one of my kids enough.
Balancing life as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a Country Director for Best Buddies Philippines, a volunteer, and as an individual (where do I find time for myself after all that? I think that’s for a different post.) is more than challenging, and most of the time it’s overwhelming.
Nino and I have been reminiscing and talking about our own childhoods lately.
It’s been an eye opening ride in discovering each other again.
It’s also great reinforcement for both of us in trying to parent our children with a healthy combination of what we both love from the time we had growing up in each of our respective families.
Examining some of the more poignant moments that we both remember respectively from our own childhood provides each of us the opportunity to sift through where some of our own internal issues come from, and how we can make sure we don’t pass some of those issues or repeat those cycles in our child rearing.
Allow me to elaborate. If a child learns that it is ok to hurt other people because he sees his father hit his mother, the cycle will be completed when he raises a hand to his own wife. If a child learns that lying is a character trait that is acceptable, he will learn to bend the truth when it suits his situation.
Humor me, while I take this basic principle of modeling another step further, in providing an example of how we eat is passed on to our children as well. If a child grew up in a home where there is a junk food cabinet chockfull of cookies, chips, soda, and sweets, this will be part of his diet even as an adult.
Yet, if he grows up in a home where his mother cooks three square meals a day, drinks water instead of soda, and has a readily available fruit bowl to satisfy mid afternoon cravings instead of cookies and dessert, his eating habits as an adult should reflect the same kind of healthy choices.
This is one of the many ways in which Nino and I are really trying to OWN mindful parenting, to make sure unhealthy behavior or cycles do not repeat themselves with our four precious legacies.
It’s another way for us to be sure we are doing our best to nurture our children in healthy ways, free from abuse or neglect, to ensure that our children are healthy and can grow up to contribute to society in a meaningful and positive way.
After all, the biggest legacy we will leave after we are long gone from this earth are the children we raised, not the bank account that they will divide amongst each other, when it’s just the four of them.
So where does that leave me in this post of self reflection and mindful parenting as Nino and I constantly reassess how we look after our children?
How have the events of the past school year (2016/2017) affected our children and who they will become?
They all graduated last year.
Oh my gosh. Just SAYING that out loud sounds crazy to me!
FLASHBACK TO 2000: I feel like it was just yesterday when I was sitting at my father’s table in the home that I grew up in, holding Gia as an infant while I ate my dinner. I remember saying to my dad how fast Gia was growing and marveling at how the breast milk I was providing her was giving her what she needed and allowing to gain a couple more pounds and inches in her growth.
“One day,” he said, ” you will look back at this time and feel as though it all happened in the blink of an eye. You will blink your eye and she would have already become a young lady.”
I suppose this is what he felt when he was looking at me holding his granddaughter. I felt so grown up. I felt like I understood love. I thought I knew what I was doing. I was 25 years old. Parenting my first child, and thinking that I had it all figured out. I was naive, idealistic, and had no idea just how hard marriage and parenting would get, as I would grow older.
By God’s Grace, Nino and I have made it this far. The past two years have been pivotal for us as family, in our growth as individuals, and our growth collectively, as #TeamGellibean.
I have seen my kids mature with us and together we are exploring facets of a new found faith.
It is both exciting and humbling at the same time.
But, I guess that’s kinda how parenting is, if you can sit back for a minute and take a look around.
If it’s anything that I have as a standing wish, it’s this: that the type of parenting style Nino and I provide for our children will instill the confidence, and self worth in each of our kids so that they can spread their wings and fly, and the values, roots, and knowledge to know that they can always return to the safety of our home.