Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tough Calls

Dear Ian,

This will most likely not be a funny post.  It won't chronicle the cute things you say and do, and it won't highlight the adorable art you create, although I am woefully and ridiculously behind on that.  When I eventually print these letters, this post will probably be one that you will skip over until you are older and maybe even a parent yourself.  I'm ok with that; I am most certain you wont agree with me on the things I am going to post within this letter for a LONG time.  But, I am doing it because I know that when you are grown and realize that a strong foundation creates a strong person, this letter will show you how much of a struggle it was for your Daddy and me to make the decisions we make today. 

Today I found this picture on the internet that I posted to my Facebook page (will you even have Facebook in your time?)  It reminded me of what's going on in our house as of late and how we're trying to raise you to be a good kid.  In order to do that, though, sometimes us Moms and Dads have to do things that make you kids and us parents both grumpy.  Anyway, the picture...
I am pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but you and I are at a crossroads in our relationship.  You want to go left, I want you to go right, and unfortunately it's causing us to have a little tension in our day to day dealings with each other.  I'm here to tell you though, Darling Son, it's not going to get better for a while.  Not until you realize that Mommy and Daddy know best and that our rules exist to keep you safe and keep us sane.  And since I know you wont reach this realization until you probably move out on your own, we're in this for the long haul. 

Just for the record, let me just get out there that the word "no" is not my favorite.  I know you will disagree, especially now and even more so when you're a teenager, I'm sure.  Believe me, I would love to indulge your every little whim just to see you smile.  BUT!  What would that do for you?  What would you learn from me handing things to you without earning them or without a reason?  Sadly, not much.  See, Son, it's my job to make sure you are properly equipped to leave this house.  Right now that means that you walk out the door with a lunch, clean undies and a jacket if need be.  Later on, it means that you need to be able to confidently and competently navigate the real world, and the last time I checked, the real world did not work like what I just mentioned.  Lots of people are going to tell you "no".  Your boss, your teachers, your friends, your girlfriends (they dang sure better, anyway) will all one day lower this one-syllable boom, and you better be ready for it.  A child who has been denied his "Vitamin N," to borrow a phrase from my favorite child-rearing expert John Rosemond, will have his precious little world rocked by this first dose.  Better to get said first dose at a young age rather than at 20.  Those repercussions are going to be ugly, that's for sure. 

All this said, I am doing my danged-est to practice what I preach and believe.  And tonight I broke your heart.  Every night, your bedtime routine consists of bath, tooth-brushing, hair-combing, book-reading and then prayers and bed time.  I look forward to book time all night, and lately we've been getting into longer books, and I LOVE the extra snuggle time I get because of it.  It makes my whole day to have clean-smelling you climb up on my lap, relax and read with me.  And I'm happy to say that you enjoy book time, too.  But tonight, after getting your jammies on, you dilly-dallied your way through brushing your teeth and combing your hair.  I told you twice that if we didn't get a move on that we would not have time for books, and then... there it was:  me, bending a bit.  I realized that I was waffling, and to get you to take me at my word, I needed to follow through.  I had to deny the both of us something that we both really love.  I REALLY didn't want to do it.  All I wanted to do was snuggle up with you on your bed and read, but then what would happen tomorrow night?  How long would it take us to get through our bed time routine tomorrow?!  You were so upset, and in my heart, so was I.  I'm sure you didn't see it that way, but I really was sad that I was going to miss out on what we both wanted so badly.  You climbed into bed, still crying a little and told me that tomorrow you will brush your teeth super fast.  Lesson learned?  Maybe.  Tomorrow will tell.  I will have to stick to my guns to make sure, but that's my job, and I take it seriously for your sake. 

I hope that you know deep down in your heart that your Daddy and I would do absolutely anything for you.  That being said, your Daddy and I are not going to do everything for you.  There's a major difference there, and it's our responsibility to know that difference and keep it alive.  You have such potential, and to let that founder and stagnate just because we let you become over-indulged and spoiled would be a crime.  A little Vitamin N with a few manners tossed in there on the side will help you go a long way in life.  And when you're a grown-up successful person, you can tell people that it's all because your parents told you "No."

We love you so much,
Mommy and Daddy
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