Hindsight Parenting: Teaching Yourself to Glide… and Never Stop Learning!
Fisher Girls Never Give Up!
I teach. I have for 22 years, many grades 3rd through 8th. I parent. I have for 20 years, making (as you know) many mistakes along the way. I learn. I have been for many years, vowing to use hindsight as a guide to do better. I seek. Perhaps for the last three years, always on the lookout for ways to improve myself and the world around me. My trusty Doctor Speed Dial tells me that if you put all those things together, one could say that I am constructive.
Dictionary.com’s definition of “constructive”: Helping to improve; promoting further development or advancement (opposed to destructive ).
I like that last part. “opposed to destructive”. The phrase fits my state of mind, my evolution, and my intentions for myself, my children, and heck, for the universe itself over these past few years. I make a conscious effort to stay away from those that are destructive or mean or energy-suckers (as my husband so eloquently puts it). Instead choosing to put emphasis on the good, on what could be learned in any situation, concentrating on a gratitude attitude…
However, I have to admit that with all the time I have put into being a constructive person, it is still overwhelming at times the amount of work that I have ahead of me. So much I want to do, want to improve upon, want to stop doing. I guess that the first part of Dictionary.com’s definition, “promoting further development” would fit that realization. I am starting to understand that being constructive means that reclamations will be constant and infinite. It is quite clear after four years of being a seeker of enlightenment that “getting THERE” isn’t going to happen. Not in the way I had imagined–that Nirvana or Utopia or place of pure and blissful utter contentment doesn’t exist as a FINAL destination. That overused quote, “It’s not the destination but the journey,” has descended upon my shoulder and truly has become another Hindsight lesson that I choose to use daily.
However, in addition to the pride I feel in choosing amelioration instead of stagnation, what is wholly the best outcome of living this way for the past few years is how my daughter has developed the same outlook on life. Watching Ila apply a constructivist’s attitude to her everyday living is a thrill that I will never get tired of experiencing.
Take for instance our recent ice skating outing. She had been asking to go since the temperature dropped below 50 degrees. She has skated through the hallways and kitchen of our humble ranch in her sock feet twirling and sliding—arms ballerina style in elaborate routines that would rival Olympic hopefuls.
When the highly anticipated day arrived, Ila insisted that she’d be able to skate on her own. There would be no use for holding hands, or even those silly stabler bars that ALL the other small children were using to keep from falling. I tried to speak to her, to tell her that skating in skates was eons different than socks on a wood floor…but she would have none of it. And so I let her be and learn in a realistic way, (which of course was falling on her tushy over and over and over.)
I have to tell you that in moments like this it is so easy for me to slip back into old patterns. I was quite sure that at any moment, even though we were only five minutes into the skating excursion that she would give up and demand to go home. But that didn’t happen. After a couple of falls, she got up and asked me to bring her to one of those “bar thingies.” She grabbed on and began to walk/skate across the ice with me holding tightly on to her waist. Still she fell quite often and still I waited for the inevitable “I give up.”
She became tired quickly and asked to sit. Her daddy took her to the bleachers and I skated around with Son1 and BeautifulFairyPrincessGirlfriend, stopping at the Plexiglas to make funny faces at her…but resigned that she probably was done for the day.
Out she came. I brought her a “bar thingy” and she began to skate/walk again, this time with a little more glide. She was quiet and determined. Soon she asked me to let go of her waist. I discreetly grabbed hold of the back of her jacket, and soon, really sooner than I ever expected, she was skating; rudimentarily so…but skating no less.
“Ila,” I said. “I am really proud of you. I thought you were going to give up with all those falls!”
She stopped skating, turned and looked at me with a wise scowl. “Mom. I knew if I tried I could only get better. That’s right, right mom? We have to keep trying ‘cause Fisher girls never give up.”
I was stunned into silence not only because she had repeated a meme that I often said to her after a particularly difficult PT session or when a certain skill wasn’t coming as easy as she’d like it to, but because she believed it. She lived it. She has tenacity and grit. She knew that the only option if she wanted to skate was to keep trying to “promote further development and advancement.”
When I finally found my words, I said, “Well I am pretty impressed with how hard you worked and how well you skate for your first try.”
“Thanks,” she said nodding her head, and then letting go of the “bar thingy” she put her thumb to her chest and said, “I taught myself.”
I laughed out loud at this much to her frustration, but squatting down, I gave her a squeeze and whispered in her ear, “Yes you did. Let’s keep learning together, ok?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed. Logan’s previous column for Hilltown Families, Snakes and Snails: Teenage Boys Tales ran bi-monthly from June 2010-Feb. 2011, sharing stories of her first time around as a parent of two teenage boys. — Check out Hindsight Parenting: Raising Kids the Second Time Around every first and third Tuesday of the month.