An Easter message to moms of grown – or growing – children

Photo courtesy of my friend Jody Pautsch-Wygans who loves to raise chicks

Please stop trying to do it for me. I am capable of bursting out of my shell myself. All the time I have been in this egg, this cocoon, has been preparation for me doing it myself. You know how chickens and eggs work.  You are the one who taught me if the hen – or a human – tries to help the chick out of the shell prematurely, often the chick withers and dies. Take a hint from this chick; if you continue to interfere in your well-meaning efforts to promote my life, I will die. Already you are hovering so close I cannot breathe. Have you no faith in me?  Do you think I am not capable?  Not able to do it on my own?

When at work, It is a welcome sight to see the relief crew arrive when you have fulfilled your responsibilities and completed your shift.  It is another thing entirely to be “relieved of your duties.” In the work world, when I am relieved of my duties, I hurt, I am displaced, I am no longer needed.  There is nowhere I belong. I languish.

When you are a rescue parent and you swoop in too soon – rescue prematurely, you communicate to your child your lack of faith in his or her ability to figure it out – to solve the problem. In your fear that your child will not solve it the right way – the way you feel it ought to be done – you relieve them of their duties. You have just fired them from their position of self-management.

So, take a hint from the cute Easter chicks out there.  Do pay attention to your chicks. Ooo and aaaah, and cheer from an appropriate distance. Stand close enough to hear if they call for help.  In times of danger, spread your wings if they need protection. But if you have offspring already hatched and grown, please don’t try to pet or force or meddle them out of the shell. Believe the best in them.  Believe they can do it. They have a shell to peck (and probably even the education to do it). Don’t impede progress by getting underfoot in your helpfulness. Trust them, rather than relieving them of their duties.

Laughing Down Memory Lane it’s a small world, after all

Perhaps it’s the fact that eight months ago, I moved back to the town I grew up in. Or, maybe I have high school on my mind because I anticipate a milestone class reunion this summer.  Then again, I did get a call from a fellow Sweet Adeline the other day who insists we sang soprano together in a capella  choir.  She was a junior my senior year. Mostly, I suppose, it is because there is something familiar about the name of my newest adult piano student.  Something niggles in the back of my mind. What am I missing?  What incident from my past should I connect with that name?”

Whatever originated the impulse; as I readied a couple of boxes of books for storage yesterday, I stopped and took a trip down memory lane in my high school annual.  Once again, I am mortified by my poor showing.  Had I no sense of fashion? No self-confidence?  Even in high school, I was musically adept; student directing the choir, acting as rehearsal pianist for the tenors and basses, beginning my apprenticeship as piano teacher. Musically talented, yes; but, in every other area – a nerd, unpopular, un-sought-after.

I graduated with a fairly large class – over 400.  The class before me was also large, and the class that followed.  Given that it is a small world after all, and that I have spent many intermittent years in my old home town, it should not seem strange that I occasionally run into former classmates in the social and business world. I have attended church with a handful, and participated on worship teams with others. In my early thirties, I even dated the class president from a preceding year.  Thankfully, he did not remember me; had never known me, in high school.

I always cringe when I know a renewed acquaintance will go back to the yearbooks and see me as I was:  girl nerd poster child.  I wonder, do others also shrink from this possibility?  They, too, may have changed in the intervening years.  So, last night, I lingered with the yearbook, looked in their faces.  There are a few whom I would not want to meet on a dark street.  Woe to me if I did not remember them from high school and take necessary caution.  Some character traits do not grow better with time. There are others who, like me, were not completely formed by the time we graduated high school.  It did not yet appear what we would be.

Others, even in high school, bid fair to succeed – the girl who was always smiling and friendly to me, whom I always thought a snob, simply because she was a cheerleader?  She became a senator.  I found my Sweet Adeline colleague in the choir picture. Though I sing high tenor with the Sweet Adelines, I was an alto in high school.  Happily, I think she is mistaking me for a more popular girl who shares the first name by which I am now known. And my new piano student?  Standing right next to me in the a capella choir picture!  Yes, it is a small world after all.