Wednesday, August 22, 2012


When stepping back for a moment to review the past many years of parenting (25), certain themes emerge. If I was forced at this moment, to come up with a short list of what I hope to have taught our boys, this is what immediately comes to mind: 

Be brave. Look forward. Attempt to see the 'big picture'. Value education and life long learning. Know that it's better to have zero good friends for a couple of months than to have ones that aren't right for you right now. It's your life, there are twenty-four hours in a day and you get to choose how to spend them. Have compassion....always. Trust your own ability to make a decision.

I realize this list could and should be (and really is) much longer..........but I said a 'short' one and the above is what surfaced during the few minutes I sat with my morning cup of coffee. I know that I'm speaking as just one member of a parenting partnership doubt that if Marc were writing this he would have his own thoughts and additions.  I also know that each item could be the topic of an entire set of essays, but I'll save that for possible future posts.

I didn't step through the door of parenthood knowing how to be one, let alone a 'good' one. I'm pretty sure no parent ever has. Relying on well written books, friends and a spouse who share similar values, and an amazing set of parents of my own has helped immensely, but it's largely a 'learn as you go' venture, don't you think? Or maybe I should say adventure, which the dictionary defines as excitement, thrill, risk, uncertainty and apt description of many parts of the parenting journey. 

I will say that I have learned as much or more about how to be a parent from each of my boys as I did from any of the above resources. They taught me how to parent them; showed me that they are unique individuals and needed me to raise them as such. If somehow I didn't get it right the first time, they would be certain to circle back around to help me understand again......and again and again just to be sure I did. So as they leave this house, and then come back and leave again, most times for parts and experiences unknown, I can only hope that we've all taught each other what we need to know. That we keep sturdy, cohesive, respectful, strong and loving ties wherever any of us ends up.

This week one of our boys began a new job and showed us the view of downtown Seattle he can see from his desk. One bought a one-way ticket to New York and trusts he will have found a place to live by the time his plane lands. (I believe he will.) The third left to go camping and hiking in a national park (where I happen to know there are bears) without telling us just which part of this enormous park he planned to be in. He saw wildlife and waterfalls and rocky cliffs. He visited a glacier. He and his friends stuck their heads into an aqua lake floating enormous chunks of ice. They all gave us a call or sent us texts or showed us pictures. They each continue to sculpt their futures by recognizing desires and passions, and then using those to formulate words that turn into actions. They trust themselves and their decision making. I am so proud of them for this.

There have been moments in the past couple of years when I prematurely thought the parenting part was just about finished; that since the five of us are now all adults, much of the job is done. But now, especially now, I know that it's not. Even at my age......even at the stage of life that I'm at...... I continue to look toward my own parents: For sage advice. For the value of their lives experiences. For sturdy and strong ties.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

Warmly, Margaret

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'm away from my computer for the week and will post 'for real' next week. I'm having a great few days spending time with a couple of my guys before they both head off to school. More soon!

My Best, Margaret

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This Summer

This summer. It's turned out both how I imagined and not all so.......the days and weeks a fusion of predictable constants tossed about with unanticipated events and surprises.

I didn't get a vegetable garden in, but my herbs, cascading flower pots and new apple trees have come alive with the warm, slightly humid weather and make me happy. 

The dedicated time spent at workshops and such has allowed me to learn a few things I both want and need to know, and yet I've yearned for my family while I was away. 

My meals have been, um......somewhat lacking. I haven't cooked or baked or grilled nearly as much as I usually do, but every once in a while I come up with something I haven't tried before that satisfies...... like the grilled chicken fajitas and Key Lime pie I made for dinner the other night.

A few planned personal projects have gone by the wayside, while others that weren't at all planned have risen to the top.

Whereas I prefer a certain amount of down time in order to refresh and rejuvenate, household projects and photographic opportunities have fallen into place, and for the next little while I look forward to a month or more of being almost too busy.

And just when I'm lulled into the delightfully comfortable and falsely satisfying rhythm of assuming I know exactly where my boys are and what they are pursuing, they remind me otherwise. They demonstrate youth and passion and energy. They validate that ones' twenties can be lively and colorful and best used for discovery. They remind me that I hope I can say this about them with each decade to follow......That I hope I'm saying it about myself with each decade to follow.

This summer. I'm thankful for all it has offered.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


When I think about why I am proud of my boys, the reasons have everything to do with the choices they have made. The way they interact with people, what they value, what makes them happy. Where they live, the friends they have, the education and jobs they choose to pursue.

How each of them spend their time is based upon their own unique set of interests, needs and goals. I have never thought my boys should be like either one of their parents, nor have I wanted them to be. I've only wanted them to experience the richness and fulfillment of a life lived as it was genuinely meant to be lived. 

As their parents, we raised them in the best possible way we knew how; gave them the best life we possibly could. We asked that they be considerate, caring and compassionate people. We prioritized education and encouraged life long learning. We wanted them to be able to define what makes them happy, what their strengths and talents were and how to make a choice. It was never our intention that they express themselves in the same way we do or that they follow in our footsteps, but we did think it important to model a rough outline of what works......or doesn't work. We didn't set goals for them, but instead tried to teach them how to set their own. 

Throughout the years there have been conversations illustrated with examples of what Marc and I learned from our own experiences. I would love to know exactly how many times I was told, "You don't need to try and teach me a life lesson right now.....", especially as they got older and caught on to why we decided to share a particular story at a particular moment.

At a certain point we learned to let go........although there is a real possibility that if you ask any one of the three of them, they might not agree. I know that often I made conscious decisions not to interfere, give advice or verbalize what I was thinking (so difficult!), but more than likely, the letting go happened slowly......incrementally......and so subtly that it wasn't even evident to ourselves.

Within the past few months, two of our boys made the decision to quit a job and make a move. One traded living and working in a small music and art filled city with a distinct outdoor vibe, for life in a much larger music and art filled city with a distinct outdoor vibe. He now lives just a quick 30 minute drive from our home. The other took a somewhat nomadic journey around the United States and ended up settling for the summer on the sunny California coast. It must have been the right place to plan the next step......because in a few weeks he'll end up living in a vibrant urban environment on the opposite coast in order to pursue a dream he's harboured for quite some time.

I'm proud of each of them for the decisions they make and for their ability to make them. For taking advantage of the sense of adventure that is likely hard-wired into their DNA. They make me brave. I just hope it has worked the other way around.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

Warmly, Margaret
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