Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: growing up (page 1 of 5)

Just know this

Every parent wants goodness for their children, even if we’re all a tad misguided as to what those good things might be. Lately I’ve been trying to focus in on a few key things. If I could make sure my children know these things before they leave my home, I feel like I’ve set them up for a relatively successful life.

Of course, I also hope they know how to do their own laundry, pump their own gas, choose a perfectly ripened avocado, and settle into a rainy day with a good book. And balance a checkbook. And write a thank you note. In terms of skills, I could go on and on.

But what I’ve really be considering is what I want them to know. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  1. You are loved simply by virtue of being born. It’s not earned by good behavior, skills, knowledge or virtue. You don’t have to work at being loved and no amount of poor behavior changes my love. (Some elements of our relationship will change based on behavior, but my love is not one of them.)
  2. The difference between a want and a need. This may be the key to unlocking true contentment. Things and stuff are not bad, but if you cannot separate what you want from what you need, you will likely be controlled by your stuff and things and a constant sense of yearning that will never be fulfilled.
  3. No one is out to get you. Truly, though you are loved and even sometimes talked about, no one is giving you as much thought as you are giving you. Coaches, parents, bosses and teachers make decisions based upon the good of the whole group, not necessarily with you as the center. That being said, you can expect a certain level of human decency and a fair amount of equal spotlight from the people helping you to grow into a better human. They do see you. They’re simply not ordering everything around you.  (Nor should they.)
    Also, I did not get up in the middle of the night and move your shoes. Neither did your siblings. Stop shifting the blame of your poor memory and habits onto other people.

These are my starting points. I think there might be more, but I’d love to be influenced.

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On Sibling Unity

Dearest Children,

I have many hopes for your life. That you find a deep and satisfying love for another person, a partner in life, to hold and hold up, who reveals the best parts of you. That you discover a vocation that resonates with your soul, a means for you to partner with God in the work of redeeming this world. That you cultivate friendships that honor and carry you, a family outside the bounds of bloodlines.

And that you hold on to one another.

I hope you become one another’s loudest cheerleader and biggest challenger. I hope you support without forgetting honesty and love without holding judgment. Please, please, please remember: in this thing of life, you are on the same team. 

May you find that none of you are perfect, yet all of you are good. And when you face the world together, you are complete.

My best gift, my only gift, I can offer you – outside of my attempts to reflect the presence of God and my sluggish struggle to demonstrate the importance of these wishes with my own life example – is one another. With each and every child I gave you, it was my best step toward being a better mother. My own love never feels enough, so I’ve offered you each a team of other humans who love, protect, guide and challenge you.

You will compete. You will be frustrated. You might not talk to one another for a period of time. The idiosyncrasies of each personality will eventually drive you toward an appreciation for solitude, but may it guide you toward compassion, an understanding that God’s image comes in many containers, often that look nothing like your own.

Each of you has a gift to offer the world, and it begins in your love for one another. May it be so.

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That kind of family

I keep vivid memories of the experience of loosing my grandparents when I was 13 and 17. I remember the hospital room, the waiting. I remember watching the shoulders of grown men rise and fall as they cried. Mostly, I remember love. I remember the intense feeling of love for a person, and for one another.

In the days that followed, I remember more sadness, but mostly an experience of my family coming together. The cousins practically slumber partied for three days as we endured the funeral process. When it was all over, dad handed the keys of the van to Tim and we went to a matinee and out for Pizza Hut. (Brief sidenote: we thought we were hilarious when we sent Kevin in to get a table, as the hostess asked “Just one?” and he responded, “no, 11.” It really wasn’t that funny, but we rolled with laughter in the parking lot.)

Growing up, we had plenty of opportunities to be together. We spent countless hours at the lake, we had holidays, overnights and even family trips to watch the horse races. We weren’t strangers who suddenly bonded together. The ties that had held us were pulled tighter, like the shoe wedgies of 6th grade.

The moments of grief taught me: this is the kind of family we are. This is how we deal with hard stuff. 

As children and even young adults, at funeral moments in life, we were carried and cared for. We helped choose the music and looked through pictures, but the adults did the heavy lifting up of one another. They bore the weight of loss together. The children were able to simply be sad and move through the grief; the adults were living a different reality, accepting a new way of life without someone they loved so very much.

Now, we find ourselves at a new place. With the passing of my Uncle Bill, we have the first of the next generation to leave us. This time, there’s no even ground. With grandparents, the adult siblings make the decisions and the kids come along for the ride. Now we have adult siblings and adult children and adult cousins and, by the way, none of us feel ready to be those kinds of adults..

When I arrived at the hospital on Sunday night to say farewell to the orneriest man to walk the streets of Ridgeway, everyone was there. The cousins and spouses who weren’t tending children were beside our uncle, holding up our cousins and our fathers. We just showed up. (And, ordered pizzas.)

This is the kind of family we are. This is how we deal with hard stuff. 

I don’t like that we’re suddenly in this place. I don’t like seeing people I love in mourning. I don’t like my own sadness in missing my uncle. I don’t even really like the idea that I’m a grown up in these situations.

But I love my family. I love that we’re here, no matter what. I love that when we hurt, we hurt together. And I love that when it comes to this new phase of life, this place where we grieve on uneven scales, we’re still doing it as a family.

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