August 26, 2017
Image Credit: ©TpaBMa2 - Deposit Photos
In the Blink of an Eye
At her grade 6 graduation she was the vibrant energy that filled the room. Every other child knew her. Every teacher appreciated her energy, her intelligence and her empathy.I remember thinking that she was only beginning her journey. She had the whole world in her hands. I applauded her for her distinct personal style. I loved the friends she was surrounding herself with and I loved the energy she put into everything she did.
She spent the summer hanging with her 3 closest friends almost everyday. She would talk of the approaching high school year with confidence and excitement. I saw some nerves and trepidation, but the excitement and energy of the new and unknow seemed to be winning out.
Before I knew it, my oldest child was starting grade 7, at a high school, with all her childhood friends...I had my own beliefs about starting kids at that age in a high school environment, but perhaps I was simply being "old school".
I cannot tell you exactly what date it happened or began or what moment the switch flipped. I can simply recall moments. Phone calls from the school, changes in behaviour, excuses, lies and fighting like never before. I simply remember one day everything was "normal" and then it was snowballing faster than I could keep up with it.
I never thought of myself as a strict parent, more of a fair parent. Raising 3 children with joint custody after a recent separation and divorce, leads to gaps in the memory and a lot of simply treading water days... I had and still have a fantastic support network of family and friends.
I had grown up similar to many other parents in the same city I live in today. I had however, been sexually abused as a child and swore that I would raise my children to be safe, aware and empowered enough to move forward in life. I wished for them a life full of possibilities, constant learning and success. I wished for them, the achievement of all the dreams they could imagine. I made sure they got to enjoy all the activities and camps they wanted. I made sure they had the clothes they wanted, the treats they hoped for and some experiences they could not have imagined. We went on trips together, I welcomed their friends over, we ate dinner together most nights and we shared our feelings, our experiences and our emotions. I never lied to them when they asked questions.
I parented to the best of my abilities and I followed my heart. I mean, still, to this day, there is no Parent Manual....
I do not have the ability to go back. I have many regrets. However, I have the insight now to realize all the experiences in the past, have led me to this moment. To this blog. To sharing this experience...So now I proceed and move forward, finally, believing like I always have, that everything happens for a reason. I continue to parent with my heart. Only two of our children sitll live with us now. The oldest is still on her own path.