The Power of Love and Respect
….author Barbra P
Yesterday, Lauren, my daughter,who i love and respect so much, and is a Mom, had a gang of my grandson’s friends (all between the ages of 5-9) over for an arts and craft party…and believe me, I’m not one to miss out on the fun! The kids were painting the first letter of their name, playing with Star Wars lasers, etc. so they were well occupied.
Lauren wanted to show me how to play Pie Face, a Hasbro game Cash had gotten for the holidays, that “is filled with fun and suspense…and some delicious whipped cream!” Sounded good to me since I love whipped cream. Long story short, I went first, turned the handle twice and ended up getting splatted with whipped cream all over my face! I heard Lauren laughing…along with all the kids. So…I did something I’ve done since my girls were little. While she was still laughing, I got up, put the whipped cream in my hands (as if I was going to wipe it off) and smeared her face with it. That set all the kids off in hysterical laughter…and the whipped cream “fight” was on!
That’s the kind of relationship I’ve been lucky to have with both of my daughters throughout their lives…mutual love, respect and a whole lot of fun!
I raised my girls mostly as a single Mom. We had one rule in our home that to this day we don’t break and that is – don’t lie, everything else can be dealt with. I’ve always believed that just because I’m the parent doesn’t automatically mean that my children have to love or respect me…those are things that are earned on both sides.
I also learned early on that when I said something to the girls, they sometimes heard it very differently. At that point I would say, “What did you hear me say?” I did that particularly in situations when we were discussing an issue of importance…usually something to do with personal safety or health. If what they heard was not what I meant, then we started all over again until they understood what I was saying and why it was important.
I’m delighted that the girls use this with their sons…that way there are no misunderstandings that could come back to bite!
I also made it a point not to promise them something I wasn’t sure I could deliver on…I didn’t want them to be disappointed. And one of the things that came out of this is that the girls are very appreciative of anything they receive.
I remember when the girls’ pediatrician gave me what turned out to be absolute gems of advice. The first was when I was trying to potty train Lauren and was having a bit of a problem. Her pediatrician said, “Don’t worry about it, I’ve never had a patient walk down the aisle in diapers!” I burst out laughing and realized that he had really put the whole matter in proper perspective. I was trying to do something for my convenience and she wasn’t ready. I dropped the whole thing at that point and several weeks later, she potty trained herself.
The other piece of advice he gave me which I used a lot with the girls – and now with my grandsons – was “pick your battles.” So often, we, as parents, take a stance and whatever the fight is about gets lost in a war of wills. In other words, don’t fight over small stuff. In the scheme of things, it just doesn’t matter if the kids ate peanut butter and jelly for more days in a row than I can count
So many people who know us comment on how lucky I am that the girls and I have the relationship that we do. Our tightly bonded circle has expanded since both girls are married and mothers. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do, within my power, for my sons-in-law and my grandchildren.
I know that this article makes it sound as if we always had “the perfect” relationship. I’m not sure I know what that means. I do know that we’ve had some mighty fights…but they were done with respect…and always ended up in lengthy discussions, a hug and kiss.
I tried to raise the girls to be independent women, to make their own choices and to own them. They’ve made choices in their lives that aren’t the ones I would have made, but they’re theirs, they own them and I respect that.
The one thing that will never change, that is written in concrete, is our love and respect for one another.