EPIC PARENTING: A How to Guide

Allow me to teach you a thing or two.

It is at this point you will want to run screaming from this post.

Fine.

You asked for it.

When our oldest daughter, Mary Margaret, code name Maggie, was about 3 it started.  If she got into any trouble, say for biting her brother John, she would peacefully close her eyes while she was reprimanded.  She just refused to open them.  It was like some weird ancient Buddha meditation.  Except, we were Catholic.  The child would not open her eyes.  No expression on her chubby little cheeks. She would simply go to her happy place.

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This would push my dear husband to his breaking point.  Short of prying her eyes open, we had little recourse.  Still our first two children were rather easy and then… along came Luke.  He made us real parents, kind of like how Pinocchio became a real boy.  And if you ever meet him, after you admire his killer dimples, you can thank him for his service to this blog.  If not for Luke, I would be the most obnoxious parent on the planet.

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I really did think I knew it all.

And even before we ventured down the adoption route, we fondly could separate the children into two categories, by birth order.  The “odds” – which were Maggie and Luke, and the “evens” which were John and Sophie.  Interestingly enough, each of the groups has increased in number, Sam joining the odds and code name Charlie joining the evens, and their personalities adhere perfectly to their assigned birth order.  But, I digress.

The odds are much more tenacious than the evens.  And as Maggie grew out of the meditative trance stage, she entered into a more vocal state of expressing herself.  My husband, a birth ordered even himself,  took this parenting approach: “Don’t tell me what you won’t do.” This worked a good portion of the time. When Maggie was nine, we took her to visit a local swim team.  As we were leaving, she said, “Forget that, I am not swimming.”

Nine years later, as we read her accolades at her home school, high school graduation, her 9-year accomplishments on that swim team were a key part of our praises. As was her season as a coach of the same team.

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And we have tried to stick by this methodology.  We are in charge.  We are the boss of you.

As Luke entered into adolescence, we stood by this.  We are in charge.  We are the boss of you.  And to the same extent we stood by “Don’t tell us what you won’t do” we added, “We will follow through with punishments.”  Which is kind of ironic? I threaten to kick their lungs out, but I never really have.  And yet, when I say, “I am going to kick your lung out,” they hop to.  So I guess they believe me.

And last summer, when Luke refused to follow the rules, we spoke these words: “One more time, one more incident, and you will be going to military school.” 

As we drove those 486 miles, I truly believed I was dying of a broken heart.  Good grief!  I am crying again.  It was physically painful.  And what so many people have failed to understand, and have been so easy to criticize is, I would do anything to save his life.  And at this stage of the game, that meant he had to go.

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I love this boy.  I love his company.  He is hilarious and smart.  He is strong and wise.  And his absence in these halls has been deafening.  The financial burden has been – I can’t even begin to describe.  But, I was never promised it would be easy.

And it is not about me.

I think that my folly was that I believed I could follow a certain formula.  That no meant no, and we are the boss of you and you won’t tell us what you will and won’t do or you get a lung kicked. Homeschool, go to church, cook a pot roast, foster and adopt babies, read the bible, walk three miles, and “SHAZAM!” Perfectly grown, Christ following, law abiding, humans.

Kind of like me?

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And therein lies the truth.

I am not a perfectly grown, Christ following, law abiding human.  I eat things I shouldn’t, I drive 74 in a 65, and I love Jesus, but surely He doesn’t mind if I stop following him to watch garbage on television… I will get back to Him when it is a good time for me.  My transgressions are many.  The last 6 months with Luke gone, this has been the resounding gong in my life.  And I have peacefully closed my eyes and tried to pretend I was not being reprimanded.

1613857_10206407267960835_1267108220020657320_nBut I am.

We all are, we are constantly given direction that we blatantly ignore.  And yet, we are all quick to judge.  You can think I am as wicked as they come, and I have the emails to prove some of you do, all the while you have one foot out the window sneaking out past curfew.

 

Sin is sin is sin.  It all smells the same – icky.  And it always has a snowball effect and impacts those around us.  But I don’t know how to stop?  I don’t know how to completely change?  And I beg God to help me and show me what I am doing wrong… And sometimes, there are harsher consequences, and sometimes He offers grace and a new day.

I cease to be stubborn, I open my eyes, and I see where I went wrong.  I vow to be different.

I hope I am different.  I hope I do better.  I hope I learned my lesson.  I hope…

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Yesterday, I bought Luke a one-way ticket home.  I spent the day enrolling him in dual credit courses at the University where Maggie and John attend, where I graduated.  He wants to study Cultural Anthropology and Behavioral Psychology.  He wants a fresh start. And we want to offer him grace and a new day.  If he follows through with his goals, He will graduate from homeschool high school in 20 months.  Like his “odd” counterpart Maggie, he has the ability to graduate with 45 college credits toward his goals.

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And I believe in him.

I learn my parenting skills from the best, my Father in Heaven.  It probably won’t look like you think it will, and I can promise you it will be heart-wrenchingly awful some days.  But the key to my success is closing my eyes and focusing on how heart breakingly hard, utterly exhausting, and exasperatingly hopeful it is to still be parenting me.  And He keeps on…

I wonder what my birth order is in kingdom terms?

HA! Just kidding, I just know I am an odd.

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained.  Love, Jami

“Pardon me, my Lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying.  I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.  So now, I will give him to the Lord. For his whole life, he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there. 1 Samuel 1:26

 

 

 

 

About jamiamerine

I am a wife, mom, & seeker of joy! I love to share funny and inspirational tales with my fellow moms. I fully believe that God intended laughter to be a form of rest and worship. I have a few kids. I have a few years on me. I have a great husband. And I love to laugh. I studied home economics in college, I can cook just about anything, but do not ask me to sew. In my graduate work I studied education and human development, I consider my life continuing education, my children are my ongoing thesis. If they survive that, I will let you know! I write non-fiction for laughter, respite, and inspiration. I also am in the process of submitting my first fiction mystery and have two more in the works! Mom life is hard work. My prayer for my readers is that, even if it you just have five minutes, you can be inspired and encouraged today. Keep it short and sweet... rest in Jesus girlfriend.
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28 Responses to EPIC PARENTING: A How to Guide

  1. Colleen B says:

    This post touched my heart. You are a courageous mom. I appreciate what you did here for the sake of your son.

    Like

  2. mckelvie12 says:

    Loved this one especially the pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ruthelle says:

    I just want to hug you right now..,this moved me to tears. We have been there and it tore our hearts out when we did send our son (the oldest of 8) to boarding school. We were going to lose him if we didn’t. God used it to revolutionize our thinking and hearts toward Him and parenting (and now 3 years later we have started a ministry for fathers and sons as part of that growth). We are not and never will be perfect….the process goes on everyday. There are days I wonder if I am doing anything right. I will pray for your family as the transition of him coming home goes on. Hang tough yet rest in the Lord! Much love…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I find myself doing so much of what you mention. Closing my eyes, hoping I’m doing the right thing and cringing as I follow through with some of the punishments that I threaten my high school freshman son with. Misery really loves company and I appreciate yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tyna Begley says:

    I have never heard anyone say out loud that odds are harder. I thought maybe I was just daft. But they are. Most days, I feel like I’m just winging it out here. Cover it in prayer and follow through. Thank you for sharing. I really needed to hear this today.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. debbyshehane says:

    One of my favorite passages is Is 49:14ff- a little nugget you probably discovered long ago. I know that the recipient of the message is rebellious Israel, but it demonstrates, so poignantly, God’s heart for everyone. After all, He sent Jesus to be a light for the Gentiles because of His great love and committment. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Glenna Mckelvie says:

    I swear, much of what I did as a parent (your parent) I didn’t know if it was the right choice for 20 or 30 years! ❤️ Mom

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kelly says:

    Love you Jami Jo. I am so happy Luke will be going home soon, but I know it will still be hard for all. Praying for him, you, Justin, and all the rest of the family as you transition. We love you all so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Melissa McIntyre says:

    As always your honesty is just fabulous! Happy that you’re getting your Luke back ( I too have a Luke) 😉 Though we could never afford military school I think I would prefer it as opposed to public school. However, when my Luke is being a slacker lazy bones when it comes to homeschool I threaten PUBLIC school! I’d HATE to follow through, but we always must do what is BEST for the child in question 😉 I love your odd even analogy however, my children must be anomalies especially my Hanimal. She’s number six and she is the most mind boggling-drive you batty- dear Lord what am I gonna do-child I have EVER encountered. And I’ve waited tables and worked at a day care! I suppose there are always anomalies and it figures that my kiddos would be it 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yvonne says:

    I’ve read several of your posts. If we were to ever have the opportunity to meet, I think I would grab you in a strong, fierce hug as though we’re sister who had been separated for years! LOVE your words, your honestly!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Keri says:

    Crazy true! People said wait until they are teenagers and I thought yeah right okay, because I had an autistic child as the oldest of the 4 so my life had been a whirlwind since I started having kids. Then the teen years started to hit. Oh boy! Apparently you CAN add a rollercoaster to a whirlwind. Only 2 teens so far, 2 more to go.
    Bless you and your perseverance. Only you (and God) know what is right in your situation. We are paying dearly for our sons schooling as well but it is specialized to his needs instead of fighting public school for it and he is thriving because of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I turned to your blog tonight as I often do after baby fell asleep, and dogs were fed, and laundry was flipped, and dishes were scrubbed…..(& on & on). Your words have a way of grounding me when I need it. True love is not always easy- sometimes it’s tough and gritty and messy and those who receive the messy, tough love don’t understand why for a long time. I’m thankful there are mamas like you who love in the rawest, hardest ways to see their children find themselves. Thank you for loving you children the way you do & for sharing your life with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Jennifer says:

    My evens are my “tenacious” ones, but I could think of several other words that would suit them better. I really, seriously need to look up info for military school. 😕 As my hubby says with great frustration….”every other one”.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dorie says:

    That’s a smart answer to a diflfcuit question.

    Liked by 1 person

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