Over the years, many difficult things have been compared with nailing jello to a tree. I’m going to throw in my two cents and add to that list. Raising teenagers is like nailing jello to a tree. The same kid that yesterday sat on my lap and told me that I was the “best mom EVER” is a completely different kid today with her eyes spearing me with daggers. Throw in the fact that we are a blended family with mine, his, and ours, and the situation becomes even more convoluted. Together our family consists of children from toddler to adult. Our adult child whom I once threatened with the fact that I had brought him into this world and I could dang sure take him out of it, now is our easiest child. How did this happen??
When we were starting over with “ours” we discussed the fact that parenting would be so much easier when both parents actually wanted to be parents and had common spiritual beliefs, work ethics, goals, morals, etc. Believe me–while this sure does help, NOTHING makes parenting easy. My older children’s father worked away from home and his job moved him from place-to-place every few months for a new project. When he was home, he wasn’t actually home but instead hanging out with friends, fishing, hunting. I was basically the sole parent, unless you count his input on things like “Well I told him he could go. I went to the senior party when I was a freshman?” or “I don’t see anything wrong with his girlfriend hanging out in his room. Its not like they are doing anything.” At the complete other end of the spectrum is my husband, and our brood is so blessed to have him as a father. Benjamin Franklin once said “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Such is the life of our ranch children.
My oldest is the only one of our children (his, mine, ours) that wasn’t blessed to be a ranch child– at least on our ranch. He was fortunate in that most of his friends were ranch kids, we live in a ranch community, and when I hear “it takes a village” I know that this definitely applies to him. He was somewhere every weekend helping, and lots of weeknight evenings, too, after school and sports practice. He has the ranch kid work ethic, the ranch kid soft heart, the ranch kid desire to help and make a difference, and the ranch kid ability to visit with anyone about anything. What a great kid he turned out to be. This is the same kid that I prayed every day would be a responsible, productive adult. There were many days in his teenage years that I wasn’t so sure this could or would happen. The rest of our kids– his, mine and ours, all have been blessed getting to grow up as ranch kids. I know they don’t appreciate all the blessings they have and don’t always believe us that hard work is good for the soul, but am sure one day that they will.
The teenagers in our home are pretty sure that they have the meanest parents around. We’re good with this. We are not their friends; we are their parents. It doesn’t phase us in the least to hear that a friend’s mom is letting her daughter go to the party, or to the hills shopping, or to the movie, or… Truthfully, our kids don’t say this much anymore– it gets them no where. Do we make mistakes?? Absolutely– by the truckload. Do we sometimes feel that we are too hard on our kids?? Often! But do we love them to the moon and back and make all our decisions based on what we feel is in their best interest? You know it! And on the cost of gas, tires, time on the road, late nights, etc. It all goes into our decision making process. But the best part of our decision making process as parents is the fact that we do it together; we have each other’s back. We each know without a doubt that the other spouse will support the decision 100%. I don’t know if it gets much better than that. I love that he is holding the nails while I’m trying to hammer them in to hold that jello to the tree. And I love that while our trees are few and far between, we are surrounded by God’s beauty with nothing hindering our view. I love being just a ranch wife!