I'm in my mid 30s. (Deep breaths...I CAN cope!)
But...when something exciting happens, I call:1. My husband
2. My parents
3. My sisters alternately until I get onto whichever one of them is not in the midst of kid-wrangling any combination of my 7, 4, 3, or 2 x 1 year old nieces and nephews.
When something is worrying me, I call:1. My husband
2. My parents
3. My sisters alternately until I get onto whichever one of them is not consumed wrangling the same nieces and nephews.
Same process. Every time. What I find intriguing is no matter how awesome my sisters are, no matter how many amazing friends I have, when something big is going down, there's something in me that truly wants my mum and dad to know.
You know why? They were there.
In my teenage years, I fought it. I yelled at them. I begged them not to be show up. For goodness sake, I even enrolled myself in boarding school (admittedly this was extreme behaviour!). But no matter what it cost them, my parents showed up.
You'd laugh if you saw me now but I used to be a state athlete! (Oh my, how having two children, a husband that is an amazing cook and a distinct lack of self-discipline can change things!!) And to my dismay at the time, one if not both of my parents always came to watch. Not the 'crazy parent on the sideline yelling at people on the field' watching, but the '"That's my girl!" with tears in their eyes' watching. It was only in later years that I learnt that both of them had to arrange time off work to come and watch these events.
On top of that, my Mum sat through up to 60 young pianists playing the same piece of music at the Eisteddfod each year (I NEVER won), came to numerous dancing competitions, big band recitals and various standards of school musicals. All so she was there for me. I don't think Dad missed a basketball match I was in, and (geek alert!) whenever I was excited about a new legal studies textbook and the possibilities it held for this (desperate to be) budding young lawyer, I always was guaranteed a willing listener in my Dad.
Did I want my parents there at the time? Usually not.
Was Mum a supermodel lookalike in her Lorna Jane gym gear on the sideline? Doubt it.
Did Dad come in a sportscar like some of my friend's dads drove? Not likely on a teacher's wage!
Were they thanked for showing up despite what it cost them? Not at the time.
So what did they gain for their troubles?
- A daughter who knows she is loved.
- An adult who can confidently enter her chosen profession.
- A woman who can pick a man who is a worthy life partner.
- A mum who can parent with determination and enthusiasm.
Now I am as aware as the next parent that we all fall down. Sometimes our kids get angry and take it out on us. Sometimes they criticise our clothes. Sometimes we say things we really wish we could take back. Some days it starts all wrong and heads down hill.
But, if you want a child who knows they're deeply loved, despite ALL our many flaws...
... SHOW UP
- Parent Teacher Nights
- Sporting matches
- Pick them up from parties
- School info nights
- Career nights
Show up. Just show up.
And hopefully, just hopefully, if I do, one day I'll have a 35 year old calling me with their news...because I showed up.