My husband and I started our family in quite a backward manner. We met in high school as friends, many months later we became " boyfriend and girlfriend" as many high school students do. I was a senior who hated living with my normally, dysfunctional family and wasn't doing very well in school, I was not going to be able to graduate with my class, so I started working and was moving out into my own place. My future husband, (if you would have told me that back then I would have laughed in your face") was the eldest of six kids, his mom hadn't worked a day in her life, spent her days at a bingo hall and had barely an eighth grade education. MFH was taking care of his siblings and himself and had been for a long time. As a sophomore (gasp, I know, he is younger than me but has a very old soul , to this day I call him grampa), he had experienced things I didn't even know could exist in my small town world.
We were inseparable, only parted while I went to work and he went to school. To this day, almost twenty one years later, we have never parted ways or have taken a break. Two months into our relationship we found out I was pregnant. Oh boy, another statistic was in all of the minds of parents, friends, teachers. Look at these two, perfect equation for teenage pregnancy-dead beat dad scenario, another young mother living off of the government. I had completely embraced the idea of raising a baby by myself, I would crawl back home to my parents and figure it out. To my surprise, MFH stopped me in my tracks, looked me in the eye and said these words " I never knew my dad, I don't want that for my child, I am here for you and that baby".
After many trials and tribulations we have made it through nineteen years of marriage. We have been contributing members of society, my husband has a great job that he has been at since he turned eighteen. It has provided us with amazing benefits and great pay, allowing me to be at home with our three beautiful kids. We own our home and have been truly blessed with a peaceful, comfortable life. Raising our kids has been pure joy, we have been fortunate and have broken many "cycles". We have three great kids who enjoy being at home, respect us and each other and have great relationships amongst themselves. Smooth sailing right? Just as our eldest daughter turned eighteen and graduated high school, things started to get a little complicated. Which brings me to the heart of my post.
It has been our number one priority to be great parents. To do so, we severed ties with family members who were harmful to our well being, promoted healthy relationships with the rest, we have been actively involved with academics and athletics. Keeping our kids busy with extracurricular activities has been important to us, we were the kids that "hung out" with no agenda or supervision, we didn't want that for our kids. At times we have " spoiled" our kids, more to fill our own voids rather than theirs, my husband did without so much as a kid he wants to provide everything for them.
So, here I sit, blogging to you after having the worst argument with my soon-to-be twenty year old. She is a beautiful girl, intelligent, respectful, well liked, the list goes on. How is it, a girl with the world at her feet, not have an ounce of ambition, drive or motivation to go out and conquer the world? She is content to be at home, hang out with her younger siblings and somewhat try to find herself a mediocre job. When she first told us she didn't want to go to college, it hurt my heart a little but only because I wanted it for her so badly I could feel it in my soul. My husband had to remind me that I couldn't live through her. Smart man. My parents had recently moved to another state and invited her to come along for a change of scenery. She followed, was working hard at a restaurant job, made some new friends and I thought to myself, "she is gonna get it!", life...she is ready to live it. Well, after six months she came home for a visit, two months ago and she is still here. She doesn't have a car, a job or a social life because all of her friends are away at school or moved to the city to work. Now, many say "the economy is tough, there is not much out there" and this is true, however, this girl has been handed opportunities on a silver platter and for some reason or another scoffed at them. I do have to say, when she is working, she is very responsible, she never calls in sick, works hard and is never late. She is capable, it's not a lazy issue, it seems more like she is terrified of the idea to be out on her own.
This is something her father and I cannot relate to. At her age we had rent, bills and a baby. We had only each other to rely on. More so, we were happy to have the responsibility, happy to be on our own because with that came gratitude, a feeling of fulfillment and achievement. It felt good! I want that for my daughter and she is fighting it every step of the way. I have become so frustrated with her that I can no longer bite my tongue and have yelled out of frustration, to the point where she now feels like she cannot please me etc.
In our first years of parenting, we were young, stupid and broke. That was a million times easier than today! How do we get this little bird to fly the nest?
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