driveway tree

it seems like the colors of trees are brighter this year.  more vivid.  and i don’t think it’s me.  i’m not wearing especially rosy glasses.  especially this evening.

leaf pile

in fact, i feel pretty deflated by parenting older kids.  those of you who are energized by it, please talk to me.  the after school hours before supper, the mostly uneaten lunches packed at home, the reports of gross school lunches, the rushing to early evening activities, the varying interests of 4, 7 and 11 year olds, the younger ones who mimics the older ones, the older ones who are annoyed with the younger ones, the one who is in the middle and is called a big kid and a little kid in one day, the dog that barks in the middle of it, the suppers that don’t seem to be yummy enough, the steady requests for computer time, the reminders that everyone else can watch smackdown, the back talk, the lack of help with household tasks, the desperation for someone to play with, the bony limbs that aren’t as quick to cuddle, and a mama who wants to scream, “can’t we all be together and be happy?!?!?”  is this all a bit of grief, maybe?  social work friends, social work me.

table leaf

it is likely that these moments are about me.  i’ll find new ways to think on these things.  i’m making a new chore chart.  i’m hearing their complaints and irritability as a need that i can fill with love and patience.  i’m bringing the watercolor paints back to the dining room.  i’m drinking as much water as i am coffee and diet coke and beer.  i’m trying to be as nice to my own kids as i am to my preschoolers.

walk treasures

and i’m collecting leaves that are prettier than those in my own yard.

16 thoughts on “color

  1. holy cow – i was just talking about this with my mom the other week – i was feeling like a complete failure as a parent b/c i see my kids turning into something that i don’t ever want them to be…i think 3 days in a row now they haven’t eaten b/c dinner was “gross”…i feel like i am constantly yelling and by the time chris gets home i’m just flat out pissed…i think it’s time for some momma regroup time here as well…prayers for strength and ingenuity coming your way!


  2. I love the redesign with the leaf photo at the top.
    Re parenting older kids … well, I look to you. We’re just getting into that (the oldest is 8), and much about it I find wearying … Why aren’t we enjoying each other? I think occasionally. But there are good days, too! Or, good moments within hard days.


  3. Oh, parenting. I’m looking forward to hearing about whatever wisdom you gather, as I already have days when I wonder what the heck I am doing.

    That last picture of the leaves is stunning.


  4. You just recited my heart. You aren’t alone – let me know how the social worker feed back works! Breath deep, one day at a time – I keep telling myself that, my best friend tells me that – I keep waiting for it to work.


  5. It is hard to be present when the energy and hormones are high. But every age has its practically-intolerable parts and it’s too-precious-to-ever-let-go parts. Which we interact with from our own selves. You’ve chosen to be a preschool teacher, or more accurately allowed that part of yourself to be highly trained and channeled. So it will be harder for you to let go of those earlier years within your home than it is for those parents who can’t wait to have conversations with their kids about sports or the world, or begin sharing more advanced arts, etc. For you, maybe the sleepless weeks and seemingly endless infections and having only a wardrobe that matches with spit-up and messy diapers – or the smells of a weaned child’s diapers – were not such a burden. Or the chasing after a toddler. I can’t imagine the interactions between a couple toddlers was a lot better.
    But you know this is also an awesome age. Wow. each stage has its own parent-fears as well. but wow – you KNOW Micah can be such a deep joy as he shares his observations and creativity. And you get glimpses of the indescribable grace of both action and spirit that your eldest is developing. And they are plenty old enough to give input on the menu and prepare if they don’t like what you’re doing.
    A few clear, absolute rules greatly improve life with 10-13 year olds. “Because I own the house” is a valid reality reminder, or “the government says I’m responsible for your body, so this is what needs to happen”. You will be able to smile as you assure them that you KNOW the parents of their friends do not allow this or that (always good to have some friends whose homes are stricter). As you try to guide them from bad habits to good, be prepared for any rationalizations you have about yourself to be ruthlessly confronted, and try to accept that gift. Marvel, as you always have, at the miracle of the life within them, even as they “fly on their own little wings, fly high!”, and you will love the entry they give to youth culture which is as creative as it was in the 60’s and 70’s.
    The leaves could not show such colors if the chlorophyll did not switch. It is the change which is so glorious.


  6. Well, Im not sure what is wrong with Friday night Smackdown. (grin) You have to know that it will be ok and my theory is that if they dont eat dinner they will eat the next meal. I also know that my kids are less boney than yours. You will be fine and so will they.


  7. I am begining to understand your frustrations. 10 and 6 in my house… and the other day the 10 year old talked back to his grandma. What?? Where did that come from? Luckily he still gives me a hug and kiss in the morning and still tells me he loves me 20 times in a day… I’m just waiting for that to change into “i hate you, why don’t you understand me…” but I think i have a little bit of time until that happens.
    I love your pictures, I love your insight — I love knowing that someone ele out there is working through (and conquering) similar frustrations.


  8. there are many days when I feel like my kids hate me. Older one who thankfully has waited till 8th grade to talk back at all and younger one who is me reincarnated, who is making up for the older one in the bad choice area. Carrie, Mari and I have formed a 6th grade support group if you ever want to join us. We all agreed it may be the only way we will get through this without heavy medication!


  9. Oh my. Parenting older kids resembles parenting preschoolers, but is not the same. Despite what a bad job you think you’re doing at times, your kids have a great life and deep down they know that (or will look at it that way when they grow up). The reminder to treat them as well as you do your preschoolers is a great one. Easier said that done, I know. Give them those responsibilities: chores, planning dinner, making dinner (or helping, anyhow). It’s hard to grow a child into a young adult, isn’t it? And hug them close. One of my families lost a child unexpectedly this week.


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