Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Up Hill Both Ways in the Snow

Yesterday I was driving a 14ft Uhaul truck that I had packed with a good deal of my house (clutter) to the storage unit. The truck was so big I felt like the Lily Tomlin when she did the skits with the big chair - video completely unrelated to post other than a reminder of Lily in the big chair.

While I was driving the truck I thought about all I have done to prepare my home for the market - painting, packing, small repairs, etc. I also thought about the big move coming up across the country to a new state, new schools, new friends, new job, new home, etc. While thinking of all the difficult tasks I have completed or will need to complete I thought about how I became so able to complete the tasks.

I thought about my years in the US Air Force - and all I accomplished serving our country. I was never very athletic yet I graduated basic training with honors - not an easy task.

I thought about earning my undergraduate degrees and how long it took and how many schools I transferred to to complete my degrees. It took 10 years after graduating HS and 5 colleges because I began in WI after HS but then joined the AF thus transferring to a school that I could attend while serving in the AF. However, I didn't get to finish before having my daughter and moving away from that college so I transferred again and attended college with a toddler at home and pregnant with my second. I completed one degree shortly after my second was born but went to another college to obtain my second degree while pregnant with my third. Yet I did it and while learning has never been difficult for me balancing work and kids with school takes some talent.

I thought about how being a parent is not an easy task yet I like to think I do it well despite being without family in my state to help.

I thought about how being a parent of children (yes multiple) with diabetes is a frustrating, difficult, heart aching job - yet I do a fairly good job of it most the time - and on very little sleep.

I rarely take a moment to congratulate myself for my accomplishments. I spend most my time berating myself for not being better, stronger, faster, smarter. Yet I allowed myself this short moment of self congratulations. While patting myself on my back I realized I didn't get to be as strong as I am on my own.

I got here because I had extremely demanding parents who expected a lot from me and my older sister. We didn't get a free ride.

My mom taught me how to iron my dads work shirts when I was in kindergarten. I was emptying and loading a dishwasher and folding clothes in kinder too. When I was 7 my folks bought a bar and our house was connected to the rear of the bar. Before school I cleaned bar bathrooms, mopped bar floors, washed bar glasses - all this in addition to regular housework. By the time I was 9 I was mowing the acre of land surrounding the bar. We moved to a new home when I was 11. At our new home we boarded horses - I mucked horse stalls, bailed hay, watered the horses and help feed them. Our land grew so did the amount of lawn I had to mow. I also shoveled snow, cleaned the pool and helped with various projects. On the weekend we cleaned house. If I went to a friends to spend the night I had to be home before 9 the next morning so I could do chores. My older sister and I were also the summer babysitters for our younger brother and sister.

I got my first job when I was 15 at a photo lab and portrait studio. I took the bus after school everyday to work at the lab - in the summer I rode my bike to work (I think likely about 6 miles each way). I bought most my own clothing, shoes, everything. (well I didn't buy my own car - my dad bought me a 1978 reliant station wagon when I was 17 - thus I guess I did get a free ride).

I didn't like my parents a whole lot when I was young. I thought they were mean, and treated me more like a slave than a daughter (sorry mom and dad if you are reading this but keep reading).

It was during the drive in the gigantic Uhaul that it dawned on me - I am as strong as I am because my parents never allowed me to be weak.

I have thanked my parents at various times for instilling in me an incredible work ethic. I give my all to everything I commit to. I got that from my folks and Ive known that for a long time. However I didn't realize how strong they helped make me until I felt like the tiny child driving the gigantic truck and I wasn't afraid. I never once thought "I can't do this". In fact I rarely think that - I just assume I can do all things.

So maybe my fluency wasn't awesome while I was in elementary school because my folks never cracked a book at bedtime. Maybe my homework wasn't always turned in because my folks expected me to do it without them telling me to. Maybe I got bullied a bit longer than some because my folks didn't pick up the phone to yell at the school. The thing is - I survived and I am a stronger better person for it. I am an uberfast reader now (despite my tendency to make up words), I earned nearly all A's in college (if we don't count my first semester of my freshmen year), and I don't take crap from anyone now.

What I learned from my moment that began with self congratulations but ended with self realization - I learned I may be too easy on my kids and I may be setting them up for failure. I may not be raising self-sufficient confidant individuals because I congratulate them for the smallest achievements.

I have seen what too much coddling creates - it creates the bagger at the grocery store that gossips while putting my raw meat in with my fresh produce and canned goods on top of my eggs. It creates the life guard at our community pool that falls asleep in his life guard chair or another who invites teenage girls to sit on his lap while on duty and then becomes angry when moms call his inappropriate behavior to the attention of management. It creates kids who can't do their own homework because their mom has been doing it for them for years. It creates a lazy "what about me" society.

My goal this summer - teach my kids how to do laundry, mow a lawn, wash dishes, mop a floor, vacuum, clean a toilet, and cook. They will not like me very much this summer but they will thank me one day.

Thanks for baring with me in my non-Diabetes post - while this blog is mostly about the betes - life isn't'.


  1. That was one of the bestest posts EVAH. Great job. And you're right - we never appreciate our parents or how hard they were on us, until much later in life. Parenting is unfortunately typically a very thankless job .. but so very rewarding, in the eyes of the parent. You are a FANTABULOUS mom. And don't you ever forget it.

    1. Thanks Shannon - you are always so supportive I absolutely HATE that we just barely met and I am moving. I sure hope to see you someway before we leave. Might me in Dallas on June 27th. Ill text or call you.