From the time my children were little, the amount of parenting advice that one can find on the internet has quadrupled (at least!). It's easy to scroll through my FB feed and read up on many different ways that I "should" be parenting. What's best for my kids, according to 80 other mom bloggers, doctors, HuffPost, friends, family.... you get the point. The newest thing I see is how to have a schedule-free summer! Great! Although that totally conflicts with what my children's teachers have advised - we must work on math and reading skills so that the kids don't forget them during the less than 90 days they are off for break. So now what do I do? Make them work on math or let them play in the sprinkler? Well, I guess it doesn't matter - I work full-time and don't get off for summer break.
I can convey my thoughts to the grandmas who will be hard at work this summer, taking care of my children, but in the end, I just want my kids to have fun. My thought is less structure is better. I want my kids to read because they enjoy it. And they do! Connor has also taken up drawing, mostly Minecraft ideas, but he's super creative with it. The twins live in their imagination, especially Keira. She is always creating worlds for her many dolls and little figurines that she loves so much. Colin loves his superheros, and the boys will play-fight as long as I let them. Every night, after the lights have been shut off and they are supposed to be asleep, I find them with books in the beds, trying to read what they can in the last twilight of the night - desperately trying to see those last words before their rooms are encased in darkness as the sun sets.
There are other pieces to this parenting puzzle as well. My husband finds it necessary to argue with the children over what seems like everything. He gets frustrated with my laissez faire attitude on some of the smaller issues that seem to arise with the children. I don't see the point of fighting with a 6 year old (or two). This has always been my thought process. Although once confronted with my own mortality as I wind my way through this kidney failure process, I find that more often than not, I choose my battles even more wisely. Life is too short to fight with Keira over the shorts she wants to wear or the fact that Colin wore Santa pajamas out to eat the other night.
I have certain rules of course - no flip flops if you want to go to the park. But when Keira fills up a purse with random items just so she can take it out to supper with us, who am I to tell her no? Hell, my purse is also filled with random crap and I take it with me everywhere. Colin - my sweet little sensory boy - doesn't like the feel of most clothes on his skin. I've adapted (because as I tell others - I am the adult and it's easier for me than for a 6 year old). If he wants to wear his pajamas out, then he can. It saves me a meltdown later on. My kids are the ones running through the store, acting crazy anyway - what does it matter how they are dressed? Connor, who has already shown how well he takes after his father (in both attention span and arguing), is addicted to Minecraft and his kindle. Yet he is accustomed to us saying no over and over again when he asks (for the 70th time in an hour!) to play.
Life is short. I find myself saying this a lot. The stark truth of my life is that without a kidney transplant, I will die - probably within 3-5 years on dialysis. Now, of course, that won't happen, because I will get a transplant and be fine. (I have a surprisingly positive outlook on all of this, despite the direness that some people seem to be inflicting on me.) But even with a transplant, I could get hit by a bus a day later. And if that were the case (the bus incident, not the kidney one), how will my children remember me? As the mom who constantly said no and argued with them because they didn't do things exactly how I want them to? The one who has to butt heads with them over every little thing? What makes me the ultimate decision maker (other than the fact that I grew them in me)? My children are their own independent wonderful little beings that I hope will grow up to be just like me. That can't happen if I try to control each and every piece of their lives with what I think is the best way.
So I am happy to let them live their little lives, filling purses with crap, wearing pajamas in public, and wandering around in their Minecraft-induced haze. Because in the end, I want them to remember the love I gave them more than anything else.