Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Mother's Thanksgiving

Mothers give thanks for their kids everyday, even on days they ponder throttling their sweet little necks. And you don't love them any less when they grow older. In my experience, you love them more.

Sure, you enjoy kissing teeny bare feet and wiping food out of their eyebrows. You cherish the bedtime stories and beam with pride as they hit a ball deep into left field. But nothing, absolutely nothing, beats the pride of seeing them stand on their own two feet, using the tools you taught them in their youth. If you've done your job well, they exceed your abilities, in essence, taking what you taught them, tweeking it and making it their own . . . making it better.

That's teaching. That's parenting. And I guess I'm giving thanks for living long enough to see some of that sweat, tears and sleepless nights become a positive force.

I recently participated in a conversation that turned into a rant on my part. I'm good for that in certain circles, and I can be challenging in that effort. We spoke about kids not being taught to critically think anymore, thanks to standardized testing. And now we have a generation of teachers teaching, who were taught as students not to critically think. So in many cases, the talent to critically think is gone, lost in the progression of generations. It angers me that the education system has dropped the ball and completely become clueless as to what makes students struggle so much harder these days in college. The same loss that has perpetuated the crime of buying essays, theses and dissertations from freelancers.

No, I'm not going to go off in the blogosphere about the details of my marvelous parenting skills here or bash all teachers. But I'm seeing where my disgruntlement may have worked positively under my roof.

These past few weeks, my journaling/blogging son who decided to quit work at age 28, traverse the country and find himself, proved he could write better than I thought. And now he's considering a book about his experiences. He has a sense of humor I can only dream about, and he's taken the writing skills I beat into all of their heads, and married them to that humor . . . along with a touching sincerity that just might bring a tear to your eye. I wish I could write like that.

I've been fighting to publish a novel for ten years, refusing to self-publish, and scrambling to polish my fiction to a form worth marketing. Having been brought up fairly structured, penning free-spirited prose doesn't easily play out in my head. I'm jealous and phenomenally proud all at once of my son's writing. I'd sing it to the rafters, but everyone would say "Aw, he's his mom, what do you expect?" Sometimes he says it - I'm just the mom.

But that's okay. I might be "just the mom," but that's how it's supposed to be. The success of the children has a definite link to the efforts of the parents, and from what I see, I have a lot to give thanks about.

I hope he writes a bestseller. I'll be the first one in line to ask for his autograph.


Susan said...

Good for your son, Hope! He's a free spirit. Looks like he's right smack in front of the Grand Canyon. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving. Susan

Norma said...

As the mother of a grown son myself, I love this, Hope! My son went back to college at age 31 to study computer science--which he should have done long ago.

Collin, too, has a fine sense of humor--even when he texts me a photo of his umbrella to prove to me that he didn't leave it on campus....

Lynnanne said...

He's the envy of many! What a fabulous experience… Congratulations to all.