I have done a crazy amount of thinking lately, so this is basically going to be a "brain dump" kind of post.
This has been one hell of a year. Obviously, because of what happened to my sister (the one year anniversary is coming up and I am having a really hard time thinking about that), but also other things. Any type of tragedy can put a strain on relationships. Jay has been absolutely phenomenal throughout all of it, but it's me that has been difficult to live with. I have been hit with depression that is worse than ever. My mood literally goes from happy to angry/sad in the blink of an eye, and my way of dealing with stress is to shop, shop, shop, and unfortunately, our bank account doesn't allow for my amount of stress.
I love my job as a nurse, but sometimes, it also gets very draining. Obviously there are a ton of legal aspects to my job, so that adds stress, and it seems like every time I go in to work, the load gets bigger. I'm sure you've heard about the nursing shortage. It's true. And there is no end in site.
I think I have wonderful parents. We had such a normal life, if there is such a thing. Just my sister and I, my parents, and we always had a dog that was doted on. We did family vacations every summer, but usually it was low key stuff, like camping. My sister and I did well in school, we got along great, we grew up into incredible women (had to say it...haha!) ...it was just all very normal. Then I take a look at my current life, and I try to be as great of a mother as my own, yet Ethan can be SO disobedient and disrespectful, I wonder where I went wrong. He has such a loving household and he has never gone without. Why does he think this is okay?
While I was in Mackinac with my kids, I thought about a lot of things. I thought about what is different with kids now versus back when I was a child. Facebook, technology, and TV programming are just a few of the things. When Ethan wakes up in the morning, he can usually find me on the computer. If he needs something, he usually hears "hang on a minute." When I was growing up, there was no computer. My mom was THERE. Not saying I'm not there for my kids, but it's in a different sense. I'm distracted constantly. I should be distracted by them, not some glowing screen.
Another thing. In Mackinac, we were walking downtown, and there were t-shirt shops everywhere. In one, Ethan noticed a shirt that had the Grinch on it. He excitedly said, "Look, Mom! It's the Grinch! ...is he holding a beer???" (Yes, yes he was) ...and I shooed him away. There were t-shirts everywhere, for anyone to see with very vulgar words on them. Ethan has a TV in his room, and he is allowed to watch cartoon network in the evening. Did you know cartoon network turns into something called adult swim later in the evening? Inappropriate cartoons are shown at this time. To Ethan, it's just another cartoon. But if you watch it, it's full of sexual jokes and alcohol.
Sometimes when I think about Ethan and how he acts, I wonder what is wrong. Do I need a doctor to evaluate him? Does he need psychological help to determine why he acts so defiantly? Or do I just need to take a look at his surroundings? It was practically a slap in the face when I really thought about it.
My mission is to simplify. One word, a whole lotta meaning. We spend to much and give too little. We get wrapped up in technology and disregard our books and conversation. We spend time inside lounging when nature is all around us (wading in the Great Lakes looking at rocks with my kids? Amazing.) I allow church to be optional for my kids. Praying at home? Eh, we sometimes do it. My kids have toys EVERYWHERE. Run to the supermarket? Buy them a treat. Stop at a toy store to buy someone a birthday present? Sure, you guys can get a toy, too.
In a world where manners are becoming taboo, I refuse to succumb to this new "norm". It's easy to do things the way we are doing them right now. It's SO easy. My kids are worth the work, though. And hopefully someday they will be adults with their own children and looking back on their childhood as fondly as I look at mine.