I must have sucked the worst at being a mother the first years. I parented like I was parented on the start. The type of parenting I got growing up consisted of, you know nothing, you do as I say, you respond like I want you to or I will spank you as hard as I can and then pitch you across the room into a chair and dare you to cry, while you snivel and try your best to hold back tears while being told to "dry it up or I will give you something to cry about."
Lance and Skyler were spanked when they were younger. That is a fact that I am very ashamed of. I've apologized to them so many times and if they tell me they forgive me a thousand times I'll never stop beating myself up over it.
I'm not going to tell you story after story but I will tell you the worst thing I did. Lance was very headstrong about getting his way and people told me so many times, "if you spank him with a switch, he'll stop that." Then finally I did. It left marks on his legs. I called his father, Randy, crying and told him what I did. I hoped he would tell me I did what I had to do. He very nicely told me that it was not what he would have done. He added. "you are with him all the time and I cannot tell you what to do. So, if you feel like that's right I can't stop you." This came from a very abusive person. He said he wouldn't even do what I had done. Even though we had our share of problems in the short time we were married, I give Randy all the credit in the world for being a loving parent. He never laid a hand on Lance and I saw Lance spit in his face once when he was mad.
I thought about spanking a lot after that. I finally rationalized that you can't hit an adult without going to jail if they press the issue. We all know we shouldn't go around hitting each other but then so many people believe it is okay to spank an innocent child. I made a new rule. No more spanking and no more yelling.
I also realized that children should be able to express when they didn't like something or when they were mad. It's okay if they slammed the door sometimes. No one likes it when they are mad or upset and people act like they shouldn't be. We all need to express negative feelings sometimes.
Guess what happened after these changes? My house got quieter. My children got calmer. They stopped reacting irrationally when they didn't like something. We all just got happier. I realized that I taught them how to react in a negative way when I reacted that way. How could I have expected anything more? We teach our children with our actions.
Okay so that crisis finally closed. I was alone with two children. I dated someone for 7 years of their childhood but he didn't really try to help parent them. He'd tell you that he did but he was gone all the time and a good portion of the time we were broken up. I'm not telling anyone who was around then anything they don't already know.
It was time for me to live my life like there'd never be a male there to show them the ways of boys. I was a cheerleader in school so I knew nothing about playing sports. When I was 8 years old I was in Brownies long enough to go on a five mile hiking trip and I never forgot it. I decided that could be our thing. I hoped that they would love it as much as I did. I put some mileage on those boys over the years and I also made them listen to a lot of Jewel and George Strait on the drive to the trails (she says shaking her head). We also had a skateboard we'd take to the park and take turns skating. I just tried to give them something I thought they might be missing.
Poor B, I don't know how we ever let him in. We really kind of found our groove. You all know B and you know how easy he is to love. No one else could have shown up and fit in like he did. That spot was made for him.
I can remember so many times when I had to make big decisions and I just ached for someone to be there to maybe just make one of them. Most of the time I didn't even think being a single parent was hard because I was working so hard to keep all the balls in the air that I had no time to notice. I bought my first house when I was 23. I had a terrible little car that I scaled up to a decent car. Three years in a row I took our car and my income tax money and bought a different car until I had a pretty nice car. Sometimes when we were really low on money I'd buy a large pack of hamburger and 3 boxes of mac and cheese and we had it 3 nights in a row. I never took food stamps. I bought every ounce of formula my children drank because I was too stubborn to take part in whatever the program was that paid for it. We did okay. My children had friends at school with both parents and better jobs that didn't do as well as we did. I knew how to manage.
I love my babies. Everyone who knows me knows if you mess with them I am done with you. The guy at Charit Creek Lodge told me a story about getting between a mama bear and her cubs and how he thought he might die that day. I know what it's like to be a mama bear. I am a mama bear. My boys are the sun in my sky and we love and admire each other so much. We are a team. I was born to make these two people. They are the thing that is special about me.Without them I'd just be a wandering fool.
notes to my people:
- Thank you Randy for always showing Lance you love him and for also loving Sky.
- Thank you Betty McCormick for taking me on my first hiking trip. You don't know how many lives you have affected because of that one trip. You got me hiking, I got my children & sister hiking. My sister got several of her friends hiking. I got B hiking and a lot of my friends hiking. I'm sure it goes much further than that and it all happened because you did that for me.
- Thank you B for saving us. You brought us even more peace and calm. I don't know how anyone gets through life without a person like you to hold their hand. (Thank you Buddy & Brenda for showing him how it's done.) Thank you Huel (and Brenda) for loving him into such a beautiful soul.
- Thank you Lance and Skyler for just being. I am the luckiest gal in the world that you are mine and I am yours. You made me a better person. You taught me how to be a mother. You taught me to forgive. You taught me to love people just as they are because you did that for me even when I didn't deserve it.