Wednesday, June 3, 2015

One Coin. Two Sides.

Raising Kids. It's a thrill ride for sure. Yeah, I love them. Yeah, I'd do it again, but wow, some days it's a struggle. Because just like me, they are constantly warring inside of themselves between their good and bad natures. Everyone is doing it on a daily. It's why sometimes you do the right thing and sometimes you don't. Your kids are no different. They aren't perfect. They are as messed up as you are, Sunshine.

It's because we are all one coin with two sides. The key in making the right choices and learning to make right choices as an adult is reaching some kind of balance within safe parameters. And it takes real-world practice. You can't view that rebellious side as "all bad". Sometimes it's the thing that makes you who and what you are--powerful. You have to take off the bubble wrap sometimes and let 'em just roll down the hill without a helmet.
No, I love you more.

It's like this--I've said this before, but I love that my kids will all post ugly/stupid/ridiculous photos of themselves purposefully. If you tell them to pose or aim a camera at them in any capacity, they make what they call the Ugly Stepsister Pose, revealing the most unattractive sides of themselves on purpose. I like it because it's self-deprecating. And funny. And honest. And silly. And truthful in a most basic way. They can't all be supermodel, airbrushed, filtered photos. Sometimes you've just got to be the real you and hope it works out. I hope they always reveal their true selves in life. It's a self-confidence level that says, "Don't you worry, Sugar, I'll make fun of my own self, thank you."

Don't be afraid to lead by example.
I'm singling out Big E for this particular illustration of truth. (Don't worry, I'll get to the others during the summer.) This twin is smart. Savvy. Hilarious. Loud. Crazy. She wants a tattoo and a piercing and to dye her hair purple like yesterday. (Her minister father is thrilled.)  This same kid will share her faith in God with a stranger in two seconds flat with no hesitation or shame or fear (before the opportunity even occurred to you) making her simultaneously rebellious and an outrageously committed Christ-follower in the same breath. In fact, I submit to you that the fact she wants a tattoo and will share her faith on the subway in New York with a skinhead comes from the same exact place in her spirit. The outrageous, spirited part of her shares the same root as the daring, bold, fearless part of her.
Same dress without the squirrel head. 

She's loud. Like earsplitting loud. Which makes her the most fun at games and parties. You can hear her laughing from one side of the theater to the other without a shred of self consciousness. She commands attention and leadership simply by overwhelming the competition into submission by the power of her voice. Sometimes she's so loud it's scary and uncomfortable and rude. Because if she's cutting you to the quick, everyone can hear her do that too.

Set the trend, don't follow it.
She's also judgmental and angry and vengeful. She's a mean girl waiting for an innocent bystander to roll by so she can crush them into dust beneath her haughty, cruel feet. She has an ugly stepsister who sometimes possesses her body. And then she turns into Cinderella on a dime and donates a week of her time to live with a family who cares for six grown autistic kids, loving them, feeding them, taking time to learn them individually on a personal level, talking to them, playing with them, and praying for them daily. (She wasn't paid for that time, she volunteered and even gave up fun teen stuff to go work.) She's in the living room right now looking for opportunities in her calendar to go back and work with this special family while watching the Kardashian sisters on television and talking about how stupid and ugly someone is on Instagram. Same body. Same person. Same breath. Same coin.

Wondertwin Mojo on the Vball Court. Conquer your fears.
She's learning sign language because she's convinced that she's going to work with deaf people in some capacity even though we don't know a single deaf person. She threatens to kill her brother violently daily, (and I halfway think she means it). She will not speak to you anymore if you wear camouflage in public as a fashion statement, because you're an idiot. She quit cheer because, "I'm not that person anymore" with no further explanation.
Because the best photos are the goofy ones

We went to a birthday party at the nursing home. E sat with elderly people of no relation to us who were at their own table and asked them all about their lives for an hour. Strangers when they began, friends when she left. When the nursing home residents disbanded, they all hugged her neck and said they can't wait to see her again. She came to me and said, "We have to get Mrs. A, Mrs. B, and Mrs. C gifts when we come back to see Paw next month. I know their room numbers, and it's important because they have so few visitors." Then she told her twin to move her lard butt out of the way because it's her turn to sit in the middle.

Not afraid to airband. All the cool kids are doing it. And even if they aren't; we are doing it.
It's a mystery how this woman child can be so full of good and evil in the same body. She has to make a concentrated effort to manifest the good side of her and tamp down the evil side--the judgmental ugly side. It's my job as parent to help guide her toward that good nature. But don't we all have to make a conscious choice daily do this?

Aim and there it is
Ever seen these hyper-religious or publicly "perfect" families and think to yourself, "One day those kids are going to have a little taste of freedom and suddenly rebel and go nuts because they haven't had any small opportunities to be out there." I think it might be truth.

Being "good" outwardly is nothing but putting on a show, an outward show that isn't genuine. You have to be transparent, truthful about yourself in a way that can be scary, because we tend to be paralyzed by what people might think. (There's only one opinion we need to be concerned with and it's not your neighbor's.) We need to be focused on changing the real you into something malleable. Clay that God can change and mold--not rigid and set in stone.

Like they tell you in dieting it has to be a lifestyle change not a path of denial. The woman who plans on never eating another doughnut is destined to fail, because it's denial not change. And we aren't built for constraint--we were built for freedom. 

It's why I'll let E dye that hair (and tolerate that piercing and tattoo eventually when she's old enough), because I know that she'll also use that mojo to be a powerful weapon in the hand of the Lord, wielding a sword of salvation that people without purple hair are too scared to pick up in the first place. It's because we all have to remember that our gifts and talents can manifest as evil or good depending upon how we choose to use them. Make sure that some of your life is a thrill ride and take off the bubble wrap on occasion. It's more fun that way.

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