Jen is requesting links to old posts related to something that makes us happy. You can view mine here, but please also go over to Jen’s to view others. You can click on the picture to reach her site. Many of these bloggers also make me happy by sharing their stories and by commenting on mine. I am behind in my reading and commenting because I was away from my computer much of the weekend and part of the week, so I will be catching up on my reading too.
Spending time visiting with old friends also makes me happy. I am grateful that this weekend I got to reconnect with three old friends. We got to see two of our dear old friends, our best man and his wife, and their young son on Friday and Saturday as they visited Honolulu. The husband is the closest my husband has to a brother. I stayed with these friends for a few days before our wedding and they made sure I went through with the wedding when I was getting cold feet. Just visiting with them and catching up on each other’s lives brought joy into our home.
Then on Sunday I had a long phone conversation with another dear friend, our maid of honor who had called when we were out on Saturday. These three people really mean so much to us. The friend who called is the one who introduced me to my husband and has been a good friend since 1982. It was a wonderful way to spend a weekend.
What makes you happy?
I am grateful that my mom was not a “Tiger Mom,” and just for the record neither is my mother-in-law. I’ve told you stories about my dad, so today is a tribute to my mom. Unlike my dad she did not grow up in the country, with animals. Therefore, life with my dad was an adjustment for her. Still, my petite four-foot, eleven inch, mom would put a lead rope on our horses when they broke through a fence until it could be repaired.
My mom was the one who read to us, who sung to us and who took us to the small town five and dime to buy the occasional toy with money we earned from doing chores. She taught all of us how to cook, sew on buttons, hem our pants, and do basic household chores.
Mom knew how to let us be kids too. She let us have mulberry fights in the summer as long as we put on old clothes. She encouraged us to have water battles with squirt bottles when we had no squirt guns. She packed coolers full of food to take to weekend boating and camping trips at the lake during the spring and summer.
Then when school started back, we frequently came home to the smell of fresh-baked sugar cookies or brownies after school. She helped us with all of our homework except math. Math was Dad’s job. She taught us other things too, like respect for nature. She knew the names of all of the flowers and birds we saw and she could imitate the bird songs. She loved going outside to look at the nighttime sky and she could name all of the constellations which amazed me. I still need someone else to point them out to me. Planetarium anyone!
I am grateful for the lessons Dad taught me while riding horses together when I was young. One obvious lesson was to get back on the horse when you fall off or are thrown. However, my dad used our horses to teach so many other lessons.
When I was around eight my Shetland pony bolted with me on his back with loose reins and my feet out of the stirrups. My dad did not panic instead he got within hearing range to shout these instructions, “Hold on tight, remain calm, and focus on grabbing the reins to slow down.”
When life seems out of control I’ve always referred back to this. I also learned something else valuable that day although at the time I did not realize it. Every time my dad and his horse got close my pony ran faster.
Finally, I had to yell to my father, “Stay back.”
When my pony realized my dad’s horse wasn’t close by, he did slow down. This allowed me to grab the reins and the stirrups.
What did this teach me you wonder?
It taught me that sometimes as parents we have to step back and let our children handle things themselves. This does not mean not being there, my dad wasn’t too far away after all. It is more about being supportive without stepping in which can be very hard as the parent I tell you. I think it is especially difficult when your child has any difference that makes life harder for them. Yet, even they have to be able to work some problems out for themselves.
I learned the lesson.
Yet, it is still hard to remember especially when I see one of my children hurting for some reason. They both are now old enough to ask when they need help and since one day I hope they will be on their own, I have to let them grab the reins themselves while being close enough by to offer advice.
How I sometimes wish life were as simple as it was when they were toddlers! Back then the greatest pains could be kissed away. And before you ask, yes, both of them allowed me to kiss away their pain then. “Oh those were the days my friend!”