Carol Shwanda chronicles her blended family's lives and experiences offering hope, guidance, wisdom, inspiration and humor to anyone who is in or about to enter into a blended family.
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May Your Whole Life Be a Greater and Longer Childhood
I have always believed that the greatest gift you can give your children is a happy childhood. I know because I did not have one. I was raised in a home with a verbally and physically abusive alcoholic father. When I look back on my early years, I have no idea how I survived. The only thing that kept me going was the realization that life did not have be this way and the promise to myself that when I grew up and had a family of my own, things would be much different for my children. They would never have to suffer what I went through.
I am happy to say that I have succeeded. So much so, that I hardly ever think about my youth anymore. It’s been many years since I cowered in a closet in my bedroom waiting for the fighting outside my bedroom door to stop.
I also believe that the greatest gift your children can give to you is the acknowledgement and appreciation that you gave them a wonderful childhood. Recently, I was awarded such a gift.
Last week I sent some mail off to Sophia at college (her absentee ballot for her first presidential election) and with it I included an American Girl doll catalog that had arrived that day. When Sophia and Eva were little they used to love to play with dolls for hours on end. We had lots of them and they were often scattered thoughout the house. When Sophia got the catalog she cut it up and made a collage out of it and texted me a photo. (Always so creative, my daughter.) Then she called me and we reminisced about her extensive doll collection and her childhood, one that was vicariously mine too. And then she told me something that made me beam with pride and joy.
“Mom, I love you sooo much. You were the best mom ever. I had the greatest childhood.”
I asked her what she appreciated the most about it. She said she liked that I let her take her dolls (not the expensive ones) into the hot tub. That I let her make messes and didn’t get upset or mad. And that I let her make “concoctions” from flour, sugar and spices in the kitchen. In other words, I let her be. She had the freedom to express herself, to create and to simply just play.
My birthday was last week and hearing my daughter’s loving words of appreciation was the best birthday present I ever got.Published on October 29, 2012 · Filed under: CELEBRATIONS;