Friday, October 12, 2007

Philosophical Friday

I was watching the evening news last night and the horrific story of the shooting in Cleveland was on, of course. I saw the photos of the boy, the shooter, and the photos of his now twinless sister, and such deep sadness went through me. He was only fourteen. Only fourteen. He had no idea what he was doing---yes, he knew what he was doing was wrong, no doubt about it. But he was only FOURTEEN. And now he is dead. And so many others could be. These stories are becoming so normal, so prevalent in our society, that the following story on the news was how to save yourself in a school shooting. That speaks volumes.

After the news I tried to explain to H that THIS IS THE REASON THAT ALL MY KIDS CAN CALL ME ANYTIME, DAY OR NIGHT, WITH ANYTHING, LARGE OR SMALL. I do believe that he thought it was the pain medication talking, but there was a connection, at least in my head....let my try to explain: My kids have always known that they could wake me at any hour of the night to talk about anything, and it wasn't a problem. And they did it frequently. I would get up and we would talk, I would listen, and cry with them or hold them or maybe lecture them if needed, but usually if that was the case, I would hold it until morning....and to this day, each of them knows they are welcome to call at any hour. It is OKAY. Everyone thinks this is insane, except me. But I know that problems occur at night. The big ones, anyway. To the young. They get big and dramatic, and cause all kinds of stinkin' thinkin'. Now, there is nothing wrong with any of my kids, mentally. Not one of them are mentally challenged, in any way, but that has nothing to do with any of it. When your heart aches, or your life has come crashing down on top of you, in the night is when all things get blown out of proportion. And without a rational, calm person to help keep things in perspective, things really can get out of hand. Do I think that any one of my kids would go out and start shooting up some random place? Ummm no. But the news is full of bad decisions, people that didn't know what the consequences would be, didn't think things all the way through, because the young never do. I don't necessarily think that any of them would DO anything that would be any kind of news worthy at all. But I also don't see the need to make the kind of stupid mistakes that perhaps you and I have made, and now cost so much...perhaps in the terms of driving when we shouldn't have after drinking too much, going "after" someone that wants your boyfriend/girlfriend, too...things that we used to do that might have gotten our asses kicked that now will land their butts in jail and ruin their financial futures and hopes for "good" employment later...things are not the same as they were when I was young. There are really big consequences for things these days that I pulled one too many times when I was young. I have thought about this many times and I do worry that I am trying to coddle my kids. Perhaps there is some truth in that. But what I am doing is saying, "don't be stupid....if you need to talk, call me". That's all. If I had had that available to me, I probably wouldn't have done some of the really dumb things I did. Does that prevent my kids from doing all the stupid stuff? NO. But they do call me when they need to talk. And no matter how busy I am at work, or how asleep I am, or what I am doing, they come first when the shit has hit the fan. And life seems to create shit hitting the proverbial fan...frequently. At least in the area of love, to my kids anyway. Do you remember those days? Lord, how did we live through it?

I don't know if I would have called my mom back then, if she would have wanted me to. What I mean is, I don't know if I could have been honest with her, even if she would have wanted to be bothered. And to tell her the truth? I don't know....I don't think I could have. Not that I was doing anything that bad, but you know- it was my MOM. After I was married I could tell her my problems, in the daylight, when she was in the mood, and she was helpful. My kids have NO trouble telling me how it really is. And that can be hard. Seriously. You have to be a big person to admit things such as what they do, and even bigger to hear them. But it works for us.

I suppose this post will be hard for you all to understand, too. Everyone in my life says things to my like "you shouldn't let them run you like need your sleep, why do they bother you in the night......when are they going to grow up......"

I honestly do believe that one day, they will grow up and the calls will stop, at least the ones in the night. I still ask my Mom's advice on things from time to time, and I suppose they will too, as they get older. But I will be here for them as long as they need me, at any hour. I still can't help but wonder when I see tragedies on the news, if the kids that were so obviously crying for help were getting it. I know those kids were having trouble way beyond a simple call in the night, or going to the parents door and knocking and waking them, but maybe it could have started there. This world is so hard on kids. A thousand fold harder than it was on my generation, and I thought it was rough. I brought them into this world, and i will help them through it. It is NOT my intention to baby them, and I hope that is not what I do. I suppose everyone has their own way of doing things, viewing things. This is my way. Out.


Summer said...

I am that way with my sons too.

Then I read on and started feeling uncomfortable when you bring up the subject of your mother. I could never talk to mine, I was either ridiculed for being stupid, or she'd get mad and the top of her head would blow off.

It's great that you are a safe place for your children.

SOUL: said...

i sorta had a feelin you would have your kids on your mind today... not because of the news story but because you have one lucky boy, with one lucky mom, who made it one more year.

that may not be the case, if you weren't the mom you are. people who try to tell someone how to raise their kids are like a person who tells a person how to do a job that they have never done and know nothing about. we raise our children many times due to the way we were raised... or not raised. due to what we've lost or gained..material or otherwise. each mother- and father are unique.. that is what makes our kids unique too.
i have that open door policy too, and so does my husband...with our daughter. (you know our story).. yes the girl gets away with a lot.. but nothing life threatening...or morally wrong. she knows she can talk to either of us about anything. that is the way it has to be these days.
back in our day... the iron hand thing worked, the harsh discipline, and fear of getting in trouble , demanded respect..and back then, it somehow worked.

we didn't walk into school with bullet proof backpacks, or metal detectors. our kids are growing up in a world we didn't know. aids, school shootings, teachers and priests molesting them... young pregnancy.. not that some of this didnt happen back in our day... but back then... we couldn't talk about those things.

our kids today MUST know they have someone they can trust to talk to. to tell anything to. and that begins at home.

did my mom listen, coddle, or help me... no. i feared her. i told her nothing. things that changed me as a person.. all the way up to now.

but- in her being that way- it helps me be a better mother to my girl.

is mine a perfect kid? nope. do i trust her? yes. do i think she'll go shoot up a school? nope. she can and does tell us everything. things that sometimes we don't expect... but it gives me peace to know that she trusts us.

thanks jamie... nice post.
and you raise your kids however you want... you have done a great job, and we all know it. and so do they.

i hope your day goes as planned, and by dinner time you are a pain free woman!!!!

let me know!

Portia said...

that is exactly what kids need whether they admit it or not. you have so much to be proud of:)
today's THE day! i hope it's going good!!

Josie Two Shoes said...

I am 100% behind you on ALWAYS being available to your kids, Jamie. We bring them into this world and that makes it our responsibility to help them get thru it. Any parent who is too busy or too tired or too preoccupied with their own life to make time for their kids is a sorry piece of work indeed. You are so right that the feelings of desperation most often occur in the middle of the night. That's just the way it is. I probably wouldn't have shared anything much with my mom either, but if would have been nice to know I could turn to her when I really was all alone. I knew I couldn't, that she would turn on me, and that was the lonliest feeling of all. I think your kids are blessed, and I bet they know that too!

I do think there is a difference between being there for your kids, and solving all their problems for them though, we can help, we can guide, we can encourage, but if we never let them learn about consequences and facing up to things, they won't be able to function well as adults. The same goes for this generation of kids who are given everything, but nothing is expected of them at home. Mom is the maid and the chauffer, and little else. Belonging to a family should include responsibility and helping out!

I too wonder when I read those stories if the parents at home had a clue something was going on with their child. I think sometimes they are in denial, or maybe the kid doesn't share much and they just don't know what to do. But surely by the time it reaches this level of desperation there should have been some signs? At least I hope so. My heart goes out to the young lives ruined or ended because nobody seemed to care enough to notice.

abbagirl74 said...

I completely agree. I always tell my kid if he needs to talk, I am always here. I try not to pass judgement and I try to help just by listening. It's tough sometimes though. You always want to make it better for them.


Don't worry,..I still can't talk with my mom...I talk to my mil about things more so than my mom:IE: Life, dysfunction, sex...yeah, it's painful because I want that closeness.
You're post reminded me of how "I want to Be" Someday with my grownboys..Always a mother in law someday I'll have to imprint the importance of communication.
This was a wonderful hits home so much for me!

Kate said...

I lurk, ususlly, but today I'll post. I think you're right to invite confidences from your kids, no matter what time of day or night. Like you say, it's nght when s*** hits the fan in a young person's life. My kids are still little, but I remember beig afraid to tell my mom anything.

Maria said...

I have put your advice on my list of things that I want to do for Liv.

I want to be her call. Anytime.

I would never had called my mother if I were in trouble or scared and the volumes that this says frightens me.

Amanda said...

I agree. Didn't have it either while growing up, and it's the one thing I'm proud of the most. The fact that my son can and does talk to me about anything. I hope it can stay this way for a long time.

Gypsy said...

I could have sworn I left a comment here but Blogger probably ate it or more likely I forgot to hit publish. *sigh*

Anyways....I don't think you're insane for letting your kids know they can ring ANYTIME for ANY reason if they need you.

I want my daughters to always feel they are able to come to me any time, day or night, and they do. It doesn't matter what age your children are, if they need you, they need you. I'm in it for the long haul and obviously so are you Jamie. No wonder I like you so much :)

simonsays said...

Thank you, everyone for the great comments. I guess I really shouldn't think that my way is so different. It seems that we go through life hearing that the way we do things is so off the wall, so strange, and yet---here, where my friends are, it isn't so...or we are all strange...:) which i guess IS highly possible, too!

Kate---thank you for posting, I appreciate it! But lurking is fine, too. :)

Cheryl said...

I'm going upstairs to talk to my daughter. Though I've told her she can talk to me about anything, I think I need to say it again. Thanks for the reminder.