Sunday, January 04, 2009

Another year over...

and a new one just begun.

Tomorrow marks the official end of our Christmas holidays. The routine begins again, as Dakotah heads back to school, and Paige and I settle in for a week of appointments and housecleaning, and trying to get some work done, all while making sure there is plenty of snuggle time for us.

After a few days of post holiday let-down, I'm ready to start the New Year. It will be the first year since Paige was born that we are not anticipating an upcoming surgery, and I'm anxious and excited at the prospect of settling back into our lives without this hanging over our heads.

On Thursday, fingers crossed, she will get her cast off. And thus will begin an anticipated year of rehabilitation for her, as her muscles work to regain their strength, and her new hips learn to support her, and she starts taking those first tentative steps yet again. Its been 15 months since she walked independently and, God willing, these surgeries will pay off, and she will conquer that skill again one day.

She has flourished in her cognitive skills while she has been in the cast. Its been fun, and amazing to see how quickly she is learning and picking up new things. She is fascinated with words and letters and reading, and I'm so, so happy about that. A lover of words myself, and someone who can get lost in books for hours, I'm so happy that she too cherishes books and words.

Paige has never been one that has leapt through milestones; instead, she meanders, and takes her time, stopping often to linger over the tiniest new task learned for months and months before moving on, so this has been an unexpected and delightful surprise for us.

As I should have learned already after nearly 16 years of parenting, you just never know. You never know what the next day will bring to you, what the next challenge will be, or what the next celebration will be.

Both of my children remind me daily that there is no roadmap to this thing called parenting - there is no anticipation of what will work in six months, there is only now.

This year has been a big year of learning and growing with Dakotah as well. As I watch my oldest daughter grow into an amazing young woman, I have had to refine my Mom skills many times this year.

The balance between trying to keep an honest, open relationship with her, one where she feels that she can come to me, and talk with me about anything, and trying to remain the parent, the one who sometimes has to say no, or be strict is not often easy.

There are no black and white lines, and the greatest wisdom I have gained over the years is the ability to think before I speak or act. Not always an easy task, sometimes analyzing a situation for a while makes the judgement a bit clearer.

The challenges to a young woman are great, and she is handling them all quite well. Its very hard for me to want her to have the very best time of her life during her high school years, and at the same time, wishing she would just stay home with me, and let me tuck her into bed at 8:00 like I used to!

I constantly lecture her that we all make mistakes, but there are mistakes and then there are mistakes. A dumb mistake is saying something to a friend and hurting their feelings needlessly, and then having to make amends. That is a mistake of growing up; and there are lessons to be learned.

But, some mistakes can never be corrected; getting into a car with someone who has been drinking; putting yourself in an unsafe situation, etc.

Little by little, I have to both guide her and let her go with nothing but a fervent prayer that she will make wise and good choices.

I have definitely learned to "pick my battles" as any experienced parent must do. She has rules that she knows she cannot break; and some that she knows she can probably persuade me to bend a little too.

Last week, she finally talked me into allowing her to get a "monroe" piercing...a tiny little diamond between her nose and her lip, just to the left. A year ago, I would have NEVER thought I would have allowed it, but she has researched it and paid for it herself, and is taking good care of it, and I know, when its all said and done, if the worst thing she ever wants to do in her teen years is staple her face, well, so be it, lol.

She has handled the challenges of being a teenager so well; getting good grades, having good friends, making good choices. I'm so proud of her.

I wonder what these two silly, crazy, wonderful daughters of mine have up their sleeves for 2009 - what they will challenge me with, what they will surprise me with, what will make me cry and what will make me laugh.

I hope I will be calm and wise, and have all the answers for all of the challenges they present to me. Most likely I will not, and I will learn right along with them about this life of ours.

One thing I know for sure. They always, always, always know they are loved. Without exception. Without condition. Without hesitation. Without reservation.

With everything that I am, perfect and imperfect, they are loved.


Stefanie Worth said...

Hey, Betsy -- Happy New Year to you all!

Your perspective on Dakotah's piercing remind me of Denmark's senior year of high school, when he decided he wanted his ears -- yes, both -- pierced for Homecoming. I took him and two of his friends to the mall and dutifully complied. (Pick your battles, right?) Well, as soon as we finish, he calls his brand new girlfriend and tells her what he did. She quickly informs him that her father won't let her date guys with pierced ears. He totally panicked. As luck would have it, he was being featured that week as a scholar athlete on a local news program. The girl convinced her dad to watch and Denmark was allowed to date her. Don't you know that after all that drama, four months later he took out the posts and let the holes close because they couldn't wear jewelry during track meets. He said they were just too much trouble. He hasn't uttered a word about them since. Go figure!

luvmypeanut said...

here's to a year of no surgeries! I'm hoping for one too!

Happy New Year!

Amy said...

What a beautiful post, Betsy. You are an amazing mom with two amazing daughters. We'll be thinking of you tomorrow and hoping that cast comes OFF!

Tara Marie said...

Happy New Year to you my dear friend and your precious family. It is quite the interesting journey watching your babies grow up and keeping that line of communication open, pray they make healthy choices and knowing when you need to let go and let them fly.

I'm so excited to know that 2009 does not bring any schedule surgeries and praying none put up on the calendar. I hope to come back here in a year and celebrate with you that feat!!!!

May 2009 be filled with the blessings of health, happiness, family & friends.

Laura said...

Happy New Year to you and your beauties! So, did she get the cast off????? You can't leave us hanging here....... ;)

All 4 My Gals said...

Oh I can't wait to see her piercing. Picture please? That's the kind of thing that won't bother me either, but Joe will have big ole fit. :) That should be interesting.

I am proud of Dakotah, I have no doubt that she will walk through her teen age years with grace and make you proud!

Give Paige hugs from me and tell her that I am so very proud of her! Love you!!!!