Orange you glad

There’s nothing like watching one’s own child parent to move an aging mom into shoulda-coulda-woulda do-over mode…even if it’s just for a few moments. I truly believe most of us blessed to become parents do the best we know with the information we have at the time.  Which makes my 26-year child-rearing retrospective following the kids’ holiday visit part nostalgia, part forgifting and part WTF.

Kate had just celebrated her second birthday when her father and I separated for the first time. Our areas of disagreement had become too many to count and too deep to climb out of, except where our daughter was concerned.

There we were 100 percent in sync.

This kid we’d created would be raised the best we possibly could. Even when—make that, especially when—it required one of the so-called adults to suck it up and keep quiet.

Logistically, our decision meant Kate’s splitting the week and having two homes. Just prior to Lily’s birth, as Kate and I were walking the Gulf Coast beaches, she reminded me how different the living was between Dad’s and Mom’s.

At Dad’s, she said, breakfast was “two bites of oatmeal before you drink all your chocolate milk.”  At Mom’s it was “today’s color is orange, so here’s mac-n-cheese and orange wedges, and if you’d like orange food coloring in your milk, we’ll do it.” Not to say that her dad wasn’t a great deal of fun or that my house was without discipline.  But Kate did learn, early on, that people see life quite differently, and that, if they keep their eyes open, it all can be good.

Which makes the piece Kate posted here yesterday particularly precious to me. These people know how to parent.  How to keep schedules, manage change, break spells…and still laugh.

Long before Lily was a dream come true, Kate and I talked about the prime directive of parenting.  I believe it’s to bless all we’ve learned from our own families–good, bad, upside-down–then take the best to the next level.

Every day evolution.


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