Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Who Needs Party Favors?

When your children are small their birthdays revolve around whether or not to have a party, what kind of party to have, what kind of cake, and oh, yes, let’s not forget the waste-of-space party favors everyone thinks they have to have.

As they grow into their tweens and teens, you spend their birthday doing something special for/with them, letting them pick out their gift, and NOT worrying about party favors. You also spend this day scratching your head and wondering where the time went.

When your children are grown and have families of their own, you spend their birthday like you do any other day, but include time to talk on the phone or SKYPE to wish your ‘baby’ a happy birthday and asked if they received the card and gift you mailed because the postal system isn’t what it used to be. But you also spend the day asking yourself, “Am I really old enough to have a child that age?” And you wonder not only where the time went, but if you used it wisely. I know these things to be true because I do it every year—four times. And this Saturday I’ll be doing it again when Olivia Corrine turns twenty-seven.

As I think back to the day that little 6 pound bundle of energy and spunk burst onto the scene that is my life, I can only say WOW. And since that day she has continued to “wow” me over and over again—most of the time in amazing and wonderful ways. But you can be sure that no matter what she does, Olivia has the ability to “wow” my heart.

So at the risk of sounding like your mom or grandma, (even though I am a mom and a grandma) please listen and take this message to heart:

Your child’s birthday isn’t about fancy cakes, parties that leave other parents wondering how they can top that for their child or parties that are more for you than your child, expensive gifts, or even those darned ole party favors. Your child’s birthday is a celebration of their life. And the best way to celebrate that life is to be an intricate part of it each and every day and to make their birthday special by reminding them of your unconditional love. A gift or two won’t hurt, either :), but even a child recognizes that your unconditional love is worth more than all the gifts in the world.

Happy Birthday, Olivia!


Momma D
                               Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be copied or used without permission of the author. 


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sometimes They Did...And Sometimes They Didn't, But They Always Survived

Can you smell it? You know…the smell of new crayons, glue sticks, new tennis shoes, and unsharpened pencils. Oh, the days of shopping for school supplies.

With four kids it was quite an undertaking and let’s just say Wal-Mart was glad to see me coming. But I didn’t mind. In fact, I had as much fun watching and helping them pick out what they needed and wanted (within reason) as they did. There’s just something about starting something new that gives you energy and hope.

The kids hoped they got certain teachers. Sometimes they did…and sometimes they didn’t.

The kids hoped they were in the same homeroom as their best friends. Sometimes they were…and sometimes they weren’t.

They kids hoped they got the same lunch period as most of their friends. Sometimes they did…and sometimes they didn’t.

The kids hoped their school ID pictures would look halfway decent instead of like a mug shot. Sometimes they did…and sometimes, well, you know the drill.

With each new school year came both excitement and disappointments. But then life is like that, isn’t it?

After all, it’s really not the end of the world if they don't always get the teacher they wanted. They’re still going to learn what they are supposed to learn. And the world really won't stop turning if your child isn’t in the same homeroom or lunch period as their best friend—I promise. The ID pictures? Sorry, no guarantee on that one, either. I mean is there anyone who can take a good picture when you have all of ten seconds to step into place and say ‘cheese’ before the weird guy behind the camera takes one shot and hollers “Next!”?

As parents we know these things aren’t worth stressing over, but our kids don’t—not yet anyway. That’s where you come in. It’s your job to teach them to take things as they come and make the best of them—to instill in your children a sense of resiliency.

Children who are resilient have better social skills, have a stronger sense of self-confidence, are less likely to be bullied or to be a bully, and have must stronger coping skills when it comes to things that really should be considered as a struggle or disappointment. What’s more, studies show that resilient children turn into resilient adults.

So…as the new school year approaches, don’t feel bad about telling your child they have to choose a $15 dollar back pack instead of a $50 one. And don’t let them whine and moan because they have first lunch period instead of third like ‘everyone’ else does. They’ll get over it…and be better people for it.

Momma D

                         Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's A Tricky Road, But You Have To Take It

A few months ago John and I were camping with Zach, Becca, Mackenzie, and Macy. I was not feeling well, so when Zach and Becca put the girls to bed in their camper, I also decided to go to bed. John, Zach, and Becca, however, weren’t quite ready to turn in, so they sat outside our camper talking, laughing, and just enjoying each other’s company and the stillness of the night.

As I lay there on the bed listening to them, I can only say that in spite of not feeling well, my heart was literally flowing over with happiness. There was no sweeter sound in the world than the sound of their voices for me to go to sleep to. Why? Because being parents to your children once they are adults can be tricky--even painful, but it can also be one of life’s greatest joys.

Trust me when I say it’s not easy to slam on the brakes when it comes to telling your children what you think is best for them. And it’s not easy to pull back from trying to stop them from making mistakes. As parents we can’t help it. When you’ve loved, nurtured, protected, and cared for your child all those years, it’s just not something you can turn off like a light switch.

BUT on the other hand, there’s very little in life that brings more joy and satisfaction than watching your children become and be adults, and being a part of their lives in this way. Not only do you share the parent/child bond, but you can also share the bonds of friendship and that of being a support system and encourage them as they raise their children (your grandchildren).

Now I know there are a lot of you reading this right now thinking those days are far, far into the future. You’re too busy changing diapers, practicing spelling words, reading “Goodnight Moon” twelve times a day, or spending your days shuffling your kids from one place to another and still getting dinner on the table at a decent hour.

I know—I’ve been there. But trust me when I tell you that no matter where you are at in your parenting journey, three things are going to happen:
  • Things are about to change because they’re always changing
  • Your children are going to grow up and become their wonderful, independent selves; leaving you with the task of learning to be the parent of an adult while at the same time knowing that in some ways they still need you. 
  • Making the adjustment won’t be without its share of bumps, bruises, heartaches, AND its share of excitement, joy, and sighs of satisfaction (and relief) for a job well done.

The point I want to make is that it's important to take the time NOW to be ready for that part of your life as a parent. Take the time to get to know your kids. Be involved in their lives. Teach them to become independent thinkers. Teach them the values you want them to have and carry forward to the next generation of your family.

Like I said, the process won’t always be easy or even pleasant, but it will always be worth it as long as you never lose sight of the fact that they are your children and you love them just because they are. 

Momma D
                              Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author. 


Thursday, July 2, 2015

You Can Just Drop Me Off Here

Zach was in the morning kindergarten class. This meant that each day around noon, Bob the bus driver would stop at the end of our driveway; bringing my little guy back home. One day though, the bus didn’t come at its usual time. I didn’t think too much about it at first—probably because I had a two year-old and a three month-old to occupy my time. But when the bus was over thirty minutes late, I started to worry.

I called the school to see if they knew what was going on. They said yes, the bus was running late due to the fact that they had a substitute driver who wasn’t familiar with the route (which covered quite a bit of rural area). They assured me everything was fine and that Zach would be home in a matter of minutes.

A ‘matter of minutes’ turned into thirty, and then forty-five. Still no Zach. I was really starting to panic. Where was my son???? I called John, who was working, told him what the situation was. He called the school, got the same story, then called me back and assured me everything was fine. I looked at the clock and realized Zach was nearly two hours late. Things were NOT fine.

I was picking up the phone to call the school again when I saw Zach walking down the driveway. Relieved doesn’t even begin to express what I felt at that moment, but when Zach told me what had happened, relief made room for anger.

The school was correct—the substitute driver didn’t know the route and was aimlessly driving around asking these little ones where they lived. The problem was he never came down our road. Zach got so tired of riding, that after driving by the house of some friends of ours, he decided he could find his way home. So he told the bus driver to let him off—that our driveway was close by…and the bus driver did! Without a house or driveway in sight on a chilly November day, this man opened the door,  let my six year-old son out and drove away—leaving Zach a little more than two miles from home!

Zach was a bit tired from his walk, but more than that, he couldn’t believe “…what a bad bus driver that man was.” When I asked Zach how he knew the way home, he matter-of-factly told me he’d seen Colby’s house and knew which way to go from there because we’d walked that way with him while he rode his pony a few times.

Now I know some of you may think we should have disciplined Zach for getting off the bus, but we didn’t. We did talk to him about the fact that  it would have been better for him to tell the bus driver how to get to our house, we were proud of Zach’s confidence and awareness of his surroundings, and thankful for the fact that we lived in a rural community where he felt (and was) safe.

I’m not suggesting you turn your kids loose and let them wander at will without supervision—not at all! What I am saying, though, is that you need to make it a priority to ensure sure your kids are familiar with their surroundings, that they know a few different routes to your house, and that they know what places on these routes are ‘safe places’. Yes, I know the world is a scary place and that lots of bad things happen, but instead of over-sheltering your children and making them afraid, keep your children safe by protecting them AND by teaching them to be strong, independent, and aware.

Momma D

                               Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.