The other day as I dusted the desk of one of my children, I found something that made me pause, made me think. Raised a lump in my throat. It didn’t look like much, just a small, smooth stone with some writing on it, in pencil.
But the message startled me. It said, “I will never stop trying.”
It startled me, because this is a kid who sometimes doesn’t seem to be trying that hard, who doesn’t seem to care. For whom heated questions are often met with a shrug and an “I don’t know.”
But in those words I saw a spark, the ambition to do something bigger.
On the other side, I saw my child’s carefully penciled initials. A commitment, etched in stone. It gave me hope. It gave me a glimpse of a child I don’t usually see, one with a determined attitude, in pursuit of something great.
I dusted that little stone and replaced it where I found it. It’s just a small, nondescript thing. But now it’s inspiring two of us.
Friends and readers, I’ve written something a little different today over on BlogHer, a personal story about teen depression and suicide. Please visit if you are so inclined. It’s an important message, and we need to spread the word.
Sometimes when you send an S.O.S. out into the universe, the universe responds.
Yesterday I wrote a somewhat bitter post on self-reflection. Or maybe it was self-doubt. Either way, it left me feeling blue. When I finished it, I closed my computer and walked away from my desk to give myself a break.
As I reached for another cup of coffee, I heard my phone buzz. It was a text message from my teenage daughter:
Hey mama so we are in stress management class and we’re doing this happiness practice thing and we are supposed to thank somebody we are grateful for or who has had an impact on our life so mama thank you for always being there and keeping me from falling behind. I know that sometimes I seem ungrateful and tired and bratty but I really truly always appreciate everything you do. Thank you for being you.
I guess I’m getting it done after all. Although I might consider some discussion on the importance of punctuation.
In her link-up today, Charity at The Wounded Dove asks us to post about a parenting fear. Well, my kids are a little older now, so in addition to the standard fears about their safety, nutrition, health, friends, grades, etc., etc., I’ve added a new one.
What if I really am the dork they think I am?
It’s clear they think I’m ridiculous – every instruction I issue, every idea I suggest. (I once overheard my youngest son parody me with the following snarky phrase: “Let’s watch a G-rated movie while eating healthy snacks.”)
And, lest I cause them great public embarrassment, they would rather I didn’t:
- Like any pop music even though I am forced to listen to it every minute I’m in the car. (Or at least not admit to it.)
- Wear my puffy winter coat into their school even if it is -20.
- Sit in the same movie theater.
- Volunteer at a school dance.
- Display my affection for them in front of another human being.
- Talk to them at any public event.
- Talk to any of their friends, ever.
- Talk to any of their friends’ parents.
They’d probably be happiest if I never talked at all. I have to admit, even I’m sick of some of my more frequent quotes:
- Close your mouth and eat your food.
- Can you please use your head for something other than holding up your hair?
- You people would try the patience of a saint, and I’m no saint.
- Rise and shine, especially the rise part.
- This is not a diner!
- The family dinner is highly overrated (nearly always stated during dinner).
I’m sure they find the constant repetition of these words, and the frustration that usually accompanies them, beneath contempt – and will continue to do so, at least until the day they hear themselves saying this stuff to their own kids.
Lucky for me, my self-esteem should hold up to the constant negative reinforcement. To all you parents who find yourselves in the same boat, who have aged out of “cool”, don’t worry – your popularity will soar the minute your kids need a ride somewhere.