the nest

the nest

Friday, August 28, 2015

The world is STILL a good place...

It's been almost two months since I visited this page... Many times I began blogging in my head, but never succeeded in getting any of it down "on paper."  Maybe if I don't write about it it won't happen. Maybe if I allow myself to be paralyzed time will stop.

I don't really want time to stop, but I have allowed myself to be paralyzed over the last week~ the list gets longer and I add to it and then go back on Facebook, or drink another cup of coffee, or both.

This time of year is both my favorite and most hated.  I love the cooler mornings, the excitement of a "new year," the continued harvest from the garden.  The shorter days and the clear sign that time is marching on compel me to curl up in a ball on the couch with the dog, coffee and the Today Show and refuse to do anything.

Yesterday I got wrapped up in gun reform debates on Facebook.  While it's important and I feel more driven than ever to be a voice for reason, yesterday it was a strategy to ignore the things I need to attend to; bills, schedules, plans, to-do's, saying goodbye to two of my children.

Katy leaves tomorrow to begin her Sophomore year at Luther College in Decorah, IA.  I'm both excited for her and sad to see her go. We will have a quick visit in Oct. when Jeff and I attend our 25th College Reunion, and then we will see her at Christmas. She is becoming exactly who we predicted from the moment she was born; A force to be reckoned with!  I couldn't be more proud and I look forward to hearing about her classes, adventures and friends.  I will miss her.

Andrew leaves Sunday to move to New Haven.  Grown up life is calling and while he has no idea what it will look like, he is moving forward.  I'm both excited for him and proud that while he knows it will be difficult at times, he is ready to take on the challenges that the world will put before him.  He can fly, knowing that there is always room for him in the "nest" if he needs to re-group or rest or just visit.

I love that they seem to be moving forward unafraid.  So much of what I see in social media and elsewhere is fear-based.  We're becoming a culture of "us" and "them."  We are so afraid of the "others."  Our children are bombarded with images of shootings, natural disasters and other "things" to be afraid of.  We all get overwhelmed and focused on the negative in the world rather than the positive. We don't SEE the positive enough. On top of the things they can't control, we're pushing our children to work harder and excel because we are afraid they will be left behind, not because we want them to be happy. Our "fear" of failure can rub off on them and leave them with the sense that there is nothing in their life that they can control. They must do x, y, z or they won't get into the right schools and won't get the right jobs.  If they don't take every AP class they won't have college credits when they start college and will be behind.  Rather than supporting them in making choices that are right for them, we pressure them (or allow them to be pressured by others), to keep up and to do more. The list goes on and on and our children become more and more anxious, depressed, overwhelmed and fearful.

My oldest was in kindergarten when the shootings at Columbine High School happened.  I will always remember walking him home and trying to answer his questions.  We worked hard to keep the news off and to not overwhelm our children with images of tragedy.  We tried to do the same after 9/11.  Since then, it has gotten harder and harder to block the horror that is in the world.  Media is EVERYWHERE and while the world really isn't more dangerous than it used to be, IT SEEMS THAT WAY.  We don't see stories of goodness.  We don't see stories of joy.  We are overwhelmed with the bad and allow ourselves to begin living out of fear.  While we still try to protect our children from the horror in the world, we forget to protect ourselves from it and allow it to seep into our pores and turn us into fearful beings. Our children learn from what we do, not what we say.

Our youngest has grown up with less protection simply because it isn't as easy as turning off the tv.  As a third child, we have sometimes had conversations that we wouldn't have had at the same age with her older sibs.  She is still more protected than many and less fearful than many.  She successfully navigated a summer away from home and returned to the "real" world, more confident and vital after a summer of work and play. She is still more anxious and fearful than her siblings. We're working on it.

I could be afraid of so many things ~ I could be paralyzed by fears about plane crashes, shootings in the city, and on and on and on.  The truth is I don't want my life to be ruled by fear.  I don't want my children to live in fear.  I don't want them to be foolish and put themselves in harm's way, but I want them to LIVE.  If we are fearful and live our life constantly afraid of what might happen, what kind of life is that?  Accidents happen. Tragedies happen. Illness happens.  HORRIBLE THINGS HAPPEN.  We can't control so many of the things that paralyze us, but we can control how we react to them.  We can control how we choose to live our life.  We can control how we interact with the world.  We can be proactive and create "villages" filled with people who fill us up and provide is with a "nest" to visit when we need a little extra support.  We don't have to do everything by ourselves. Rather than becoming overwhelmed by the "what if's" I want take charge of the things I actually can control.  I want my children to make decisions based on what is good for them, NOT based on what everyone else is doing.  I want them to think for themselves and not get overwhelmed by the things they can't control.  I want to do a better job of modeling this for them.

I could be so afraid of sending my children out into the world, but I'm not.  I will miss them and I will worry about them, but I'm not afraid.  Despite popular opinion, the world is an amazing place filled with wonderful people, places and adventures to be had.  I could be afraid, but I'm not.  I'm excited to follow their journeys and I am proud that they are people who will make the world an even better place as they go.