December 21, Bel Air, MD: Raising children looks hard. Really hard. I spent tonight with my niece, who turned 7 today, and my nephew. I only get periodic glimpses of them (which is much more my fault than anyone else's), so it is always a treat to catch up with them. Jordan was fantastic in her dance recital. I was so impressed! Even my sister performed.
My parents did a great job of making sure that my sister and I had a set of options that was vastly expanded beyond what their parents had been able to provide for them. Maybe thats the goal. Or one of them. But in order to make that happen, I think they had to be really courageous. It seems to be really difficult to help your kids avoid some of the mistakes you made and take advantage of the experiences you didn't. To want them to end up like you yet not like you at all.
I am always suggesting to my mother than she shouldn't worry about every single thing regarding her kids. But she says I don't know because I don't have kids. And I really don't. I see that she and my dad fought to provide me with options. Lots of them. And they did so willingly and consciously. But sometimes when I take those options, she still worries about how THAT will turn out...because they can challenge what we sometimes call her "old school" mentality. I definitely want my kids to avoid so many of the things I didn't...I just hope to be able to provide the kind of guidance my parents did. I could never explain how they did it. The word "terror" comes to mind, honestly. But that wasn't the whole story. They were definitely courageous.