Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Poem To Capture a Conversation

Back and Forth
By Susan L. Lipson, October 2015

You toss a ball to me                                   
And I catch it, flashing a smile at you
That you don’t, or can’t, return.
I toss it back
And you let it drop and roll, sighing,
Because you didn't like my throw.
"C'mon," I encourage you, "throw it back,"
And I pick it up and hurl it at you
Noticing you wince at its impact.
You whip the ball at me now,
And I leap to grab it
But miss,
And you sigh with exasperation
That I just didn’t get it—
That I just don’t get you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Raising Admirable Kids

To be an admirable Mom, one of my main goals in life, I need more than admiring kids. After all, it's no feat to get KIDS to admire you; if you simply show them gentle love, fierce support, and calm trust, you're a virtual superhero in their early years. But to get my grown-up children to admire, that's the kind of admiration that really matters, for it is based not only on how I treat them, but on how I treat the world. And such admiration from them results, most importantly, in their becoming admirable themselves. My desire for their admiration is thus not about feeding my ego, but about contributing to the world.

When my son spontaneously hugs me after I've come home from visiting a sick relative, and whispers down (DOWN now, he's so tall!) into my hair, "You're such a good woman, Mom," I've begun to meet my goal. When my youngest teenage daughter says, "Mom, thank you so much for helping me follow my passion for acting and singing; I'm going to be the same way with my own kids," then I see HER as a future admirable Mom. When my oldest daughter, from college, tells me that her new friend is interested in reading my newest novel manuscript, I feel awed that my daughter admires me and my work enough to make it a topic of discussion with some young woman whom I've never met. "Oh my gosh, you told your friend about my novel?" I gush. And she replies matter-of-factly, "Well she loves poetry novels and yours is great, so I recommended it. I wish it would get published already!" My daughter, my fan. Sigh.

As I continue to raise my daughters and son into adulthood, I try to remember to ask myself, "Now how can I set the best example for the sake of my grandkids and great-grandkids (if I am so blessed)?" And though I might gripe about their lack of help with dishes or laundry, or try to instill responsibility with too many "No's" and not enough "Okay's" sometimes, I honestly, earnestly, try to be the kind of parent who catalyzes, rather than stifles, growth. Some of the most important words I can say as a Mom are "I trust you to make the right choice;" however, the importance of those words is contingent upon the value of my trust. Admirability must precede admiration.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How My Kids See Me

To them, I am a laundress, a perpetual dishwasher and cook, a nag--"Put away your dish! Close your drawers!"--a chauffeur in a minivan, and an ever-ready editor (even though I can barely see straight, let alone THINK, at 11 p.m., when their first drafts are finally ready for my editing). I am the one who volunteers them for community services "without asking," but also the one they later thank for getting them involved. I am easier to convince than Dad, and quicker to forgive and forget--clearly the one to ask for money or special privileges (does that make me The Pushover?). I am unconditionally loving, even when I'm stressed, and they know it, because one of us always fails to conceal a smile when I still insist on a kiss goodnight, even after an argument.

Because of them, I have a lot of half-finished manuscripts, a lot of double-bookings, and a need to clone myself. Their busy lives make me frantic when I can't find my pocket calendar or my keys, because I struggle to know where I need to be and when, and to do so on time, so that I'm not constantly yelling, "Come on! I'm leaving without you!" Because of them, I'm a liar, because I almost never leave without them, and so I deserve the angst of having late kids, don't I?

They tell me that they hope I won't sell "their" house, that I'll stay in our neighborhood so they can always come "home," that I'll dedicate a book to them, that I'll babysit their kids and always stay healthy, that I'll live to 110 and stay "cool." And I will try to fulfill their hopes as I now fulfill their needs, so they can still see me as cook, a pushover, a guaranteed kiss, and an editor (even if not a chauffeur or laundress anymore)--even when I've finished the half-done manuscripts and am busy squeezing in visits with them between book tours.

That's how I see my kids seeing me.

[This post was written in response to a writing prompt I gave my teenage writing students, a poem titled "How My Father Sees Us," by Kirsten Smith, in her poetry novel The Geography of Girlhood. You can read more about the prompt and how the kids responded on my other blog: