Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Just Call Me Farmer Mom

If you aren't already a parent but hope to have little ones one day, then I'm going to give you some life changing advice.  Parenting is hard.  Okay, so maybe not life changing, but definitely truth. 
I've come to realize that parenting is a lot like planting a garden of really slow growing crops.  You tend to the crops but the fruits of your labor are years away.  In the mean time, you toil and work, celebrating the little growths and being disappointed when the little plants don't grow as they should.  As parents, we do the same thing.  We work on these little people over the time we have them, but we don't know if we've done the right things for our little "crops" for years.  Sure they're growing, but are they thriving?  Are we giving them the tools they need?  It's hard I tell you, because while there is some immediate feedback, you don't really know for years if you've done it right!
I remember one time my great-grandfather growing an arbor of grapes.  He toiled over those things and they never did produce fruit.  He was so frustrated.  We went to the co-op (do those still exist?) and the library and poured over everything we could find about growing grapes.  Finally, he decided that the best thing to do was to cut the grapes back and see what would happen.  You know what?  When the vines grew back, they actually did produce grapes! It wasn't like he didn't have a hand in it.  They still required the right foundation to grow--good soil, the perfect location, a strong arbor, appropriate amounts of water.  It was only after he stepped back and let the grapes do their own thing did it happen though.
Being perfectly honest, I'm at that crossroads with our oldest.  The "letting go" stage.  Baby steps though, people, but letting him go a bit nonetheless.  It's hard.  I mean REALLY HARD.  And it's REALLY SCARY!  I've been tending to that little plant, er, um, person for over 12 years now.  He's actually closer to adulthood now than he is to infancy.  I'm not even sure how it happened.  One day, he was climbing on my lap to read stories and the next he's almost as tall as me and starting to grow a mustache (don't mention it though--he's not happy about it).  I've got less than 6 years left to make sure I've produced a good human being before I send him off to college.  Eeeeekkkkk!  Did I mention it was scary?  It's scary.
I still want to do everything for him and I find more and more often that I'm reminding myself that one day my boy will be a man *gulp* and he'll have to have the capability to do things on his own.  He'll need to be able to take care of himself, think for himself, and make decisions apart from us.  I find that, in homeschooling our children, I actually have to be more aware of being a helicopter parent and nip it in the bud.  When your child is with you all the time and relies on you for so much, you also have to be the one to provide situations where they can grow on their own and practice what they've learned without you.  I don't like it, but thems the breaks, kid.
I will say this though, I'm pretty pleased with the way that crop is growing.  And unless drought and pestilence eats it alive during the awfulness of the teenage years, I think my little plant might be okay. 
For now, I'll keep providing him with a good foundation, but backing off more and more to let him grow in his own way.  And praying along the way that when the fruits of my labor come in, that I've grown him to be the best person he can be!
Choosing Joy,
Jen